The First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship is an Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and National Immigration Law Center collaborative program, which advances first-generation college students committed to social justice. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law launched FirstGEN during the fall of 2012 and welcomed its first class during the summer of 2013, to coincide with the Lawyers’ Committee’s 50th anniversary. Shortly after, the Washington, D.C. office of the National Immigration Law Center and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. signed on to become the FirstGEN partner organizations. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC joined in 2015. The Lawyers’ Committee continues to serve as the program’s lead organization.
FirstGEN is a ten-week summer program for undergraduate students who are the first in their immediate families to attend an institution of higher education, and who are passionate about pursuing careers in social justice. Fellows gain hands-on experience working on civil rights matters as full-time Public Policy & Social Justice interns, while also participating in an advocacy training program. Normally, each organization hosts up to two fellows each summer, and all fellows come together for the weekly advocacy training program. FirstGEN creates a greater community of advocates by linking emerging leaders with existing ones, and by creating a FirstGEN alumni network. In addition to a full-time internship and training, fellows receive a stipend.