ERN Statement on COVID-19
The Leaders of Color Initiative

Recruit. Elect. Elevate.

The Leaders of Color (“LOC“) program recruits Black and Brown leaders for public office. These leaders are respected in their communities and are provided a suite of resources to help win elections and increase their influence. Not only are community-based leaders uniquely essential to the sustainability of education reform, local leaders who support reform values are also the least likely to receive the supportive services necessary to launching and winning elections. The LOC Training Program is the launch of our long-term development to unapologetically usher in a new, bold group of Black and Latino elected officials.

The LOC provides 70-plus hours of training content, delivered over a span of five months with in-person training weekends, focuses on cultivating leadership abilities, building education policy knowledge, and honing campaigning skills — all with an equity lens.

LOC Memphis

Education reform in Memphis began in earnest after Tennessee was awarded a Race to the Top grant under the Obama Administration. At that time 69 of the lowest-performing schools in the state were concentrated in five neighborhoods in Memphis. Significant investments in schools and communities over the last decade has steadily improved outcomes for kids, but Memphis needs more legislators who represent those communities. LOC Memphis is proud to work alongside the students, families and teachers in Memphis and Shelby County to support leaders who believe that all students can learn.

In 2018, Education Reform Now (ERN) launched Leaders of Color Initiative in Memphis with a cohort of 15 African American community-based leaders and developed a comprehensive 70- plus hour training program. Since then, the program has graduated 31 leaders—including 6 women and 2 men of color who have filed for races in 2020—and launched its third cohort of 19 leaders in March 2020.

LOC New York

In April 2020, ERN launched its Leaders of Color New York chapter, with an inaugural cohort of 12 aspiring political and education leaders, representing the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, and Harlem.


We’re excited to announce that our Leaders of Color leadership training program will be coming to New Orleans, Louisiana, this Summer. Apply here and learn the skills and tools needed to run for public office. You can be the change in your community.

For more information on LOC, please contact:

Mike Bland
National Director, LOC