Black Student Leadership Network

We believe in the power of young voices to shape a brighter tomorrow. That’s why we proudly introduce our revitalized Black Student Leadership Network (BSLN), a dynamic program designed to nurture the next generation of Black servant leaders. 

BSLN is more than just a network, it’s a catalyst for change. We provide financial support and essential training resources to students and youth organizers, equipping them to become advocates for justice, equity, and opportunity. From pre-K through college, we’re here to guide, mentor, and uplift. 

Core Components

BSLN Conference

Held annually on CDF’s Alex Haley Farm, our BSLN Conference provides students with space to develop lifelong connections with fellow student organizers from across the country. Attendees engage in thoughtful and enriching training on how to lead in community organizing, public policy, and social justice spaces in their campus communities.

Fellowship Program

The BSLN Fellowship Program offers an enriching opportunity for college students to learn more about community organizing and public policy. Over a transformative 10-month hybrid journey, we welcome Campus Ambassadors and Program Fellows from campuses across the nation.

Shaping Public Narrative

Join us in championing a powerful movement dedicated to fostering a new wave of Black leaders. Alongside our transformative Conference and Fellowship Program, BSLN collaborates with BSLN Alumni and influential contemporary Black leaders. Serving as invaluable historians, mentors, and strategic allies, they guide and inspire students within the BSLN Network. Together, we’re building a legacy of empowered advocates, ensuring that the voices of tomorrow are heard today.

Black Student Leadership Network Fellowship Interest Meeting

The Black Student Leadership Network is dedicated to fostering a network of Black student leaders who champion organizing and advocacy within their communities. Our BSLN Fellowship Program provides a unique paid opportunity for college students to delve into community organizing and public policy. Stay tuned for date and time.

Learn More

BSLN Highlights and News

BSLN Members Featured in Youth Response to the 2023 State of the Union Address

Michael Henry
Zakaria Jamari

Children’s Defense Fund is pleased to share that two members of our Black Student Leadership Network—Michael Henry and Zakaria Jamari—have been selected to speak during the Young People’s Address after the 2023 State of the Union.

Henry, of Fayetteville, NC, is a Senior Political Science Major at Morehouse College. There, he serves in various capacities, including as President of the Student Ambassador Team, a Study Abroad Ambassador for the Office of International Education, and a Prison Education Student Ambassador for the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership. Jamari, of Saint Paul, MN, attends the University of Minnesota where he studies Psychology with minors in Public Health, Integrative Neuroscience, and Management. After graduation, Jamari hopes to pursue a Psy.D. in clinical psychology and become a licensed psychologist healing his community.

The #YoungPeopleAddress streamed live at 10:30pm EST on Tuesday, February 7.