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Atty. Ainka Jackson is an Obama Foundation United States Leader


August 1, 2023

Contact: Drew Glover

Atty. Ainka Jackson of the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation Announced as New Obama Foundation United States Leader

Selma, AL – Today, Atty. Ainka Jackson of the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation announced that she is among the first cohort of 100 emerging changemakers selected to participate in the Obama Foundation’s Leaders USA program. The Obama Leaders program is a six-month virtual program that supports and connects emerging leaders in the United States, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe through a values-based leadership framework inspired by the ideals and legacy of President and Mrs. Obama. Chosen from a highly competitive pool of applications, Atty. Jackson was selected to join the program for her leadership in reducing violence through innovative programs like the Violence Intervention Program and her dedication to building a safe, supportive Beloved Community, especially for people of color in Selma and Dallas County, AL. This opportunity will allow her to continue to expand her organization’s impact across public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

The inaugural cohort of United States “Obama Leaders” is composed of values-driven changemakers from every corner of the country. Hailing from 37 states; Washington, D.C.; American Samoa; Guam; and five tribal nations, these Obama Leaders are united by their passion for building a stronger, more sustainable, and more inclusive world.

Atty. Ainka Jackson received the first annual In Peace & Freedom Award in 2016 and is a level 3 certified Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation trainer. Jackson was instrumental in Selma being chosen as 1 of 14 sites for the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation initiative and she currently leads Selma’s programmatic work for that initiative. She is the co-creator of the Beyond Divide and Conquer: Unite and Build Racial Equity Training, which explores how the social construct of race was created to divide and conquer (especially poor whites and people of color). Using first-person historical narratives, the training questions what’s the cost of racism for people of color and white people and how we can resist divide and conquer and unite and build. Jackson is a Special Advisor for the ABA Commission for Homelessness and Poverty, Special Counsel to the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice Section.

“We are excited to welcome these 100 changemakers from across the United States into the Obama Foundation family,” said Valerie Jarrett, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “Our newest Obama Leaders are already making a difference in their communities and are ready to take their work to the next level. They embody the values of President and Mrs. Obama, and their impactful work will create positive change in communities across the country."

The Leaders USA program offers participants a unique and comprehensive experience, including a values-driven leadership curriculum, action labs focused on strengthening democratic institutions and culture in the U.S., community groups for fostering constructive dialogue in a polarized environment, and one-on-one support to help tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. As part of the six-month program, Atty. Jackson will convene virtually each week with the United States Obama Leaders cohort for interactive sessions designed to help them drive change by honing their leadership skills, building deep relationships with their peers, and engaging with thought leaders and members of the Obama Foundation community. Atty Jackson will also have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, participate in various virtual experiences and special events, including one-on-one conversations with experienced mentors in the Foundation's global network.

To learn more about Atty. Jackson and The Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation, visit

To learn more about the program and the individuals who make up the inaugural cohort, visit


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