The 25th Class of Emerson National Hunger Fellows gathered at Rayburn House Office Building on Thursday, February 28, to present their findings from their six months spent working to end hunger with local organizations in communities across the U.S.
Chesterfield Polkey, a 2018 Bonner alum from Macalester College, is a member of this year’s Emerson National Hunger Fellows. He served the first half of his fellowship at Just Harvest, a local community organization in Pittsburgh, PA.
Chesterfield’s and the other Fellow presentations were delivered before a live audience of anti-hunger advocates and their fellow fellows, and streamed live via Facebook, allow each class of fellows to share the lessons they’ve learned in the first half of their fellowship while providing a snapshot of the hunger situation in their host communities.
Sharing new tools and frameworks, like the interactive poverty dashboard Jeremy Arnold developed with Alabama Possible;
Exploring best practices, like Keisha Perkins and Mackenzie Aime’s recommendations for meaningful community engagement in McDowell County, West Virginia; and
Methods for expanding the equity practices of anti-hunger organizations, like Baridilo Dube and Chesterfield Polkey’s presentations on centering the voices and cultivating the leadership of people with lived experience of hunger and poverty.
Opening remarks were provided by the Hunger Center’s Board Chair, Rep. James P. McGovern. “It makes me hopeful that we’re going to end hunger in this country,” he said, addressing the fellows, “because we have people like you who are dedicated to doing just that…you could be doing anything, but you’re doing this; you could be focused on any issue you want, but you’re focused on this.”
The field work presentations marked the end of the fellows’ two-week policy training and re-orientation to their new home in Washington, D.C., where they will spend the second half of their fellowship working with organizations that focus on anti-hunger policy at the national level. Chesterfield will be serving his six month policy placement with the National Conference on State Legislatures.
Chesterfield graduated in 2018 with honors from Macalester College with a degree in sociology and minors in political science, statistics, and French. Through the community service-oriented Bonner Scholars Program, he interned at Neighborhood House, a local social service agency. There, Chesterfield organized multiple lobbying days on the hill, conducted multiple presentations on political advocacy, and wrote a guidebook on public policy. He also assisted and interacted with participants in the agency’s food pantry. Chesterfield remains committed to public service having participated in the City of Minneapolis’ Urban Scholars program, worked in the government affairs department at the Metropolitan Council, and interned at the National Ministry of Education in Fatick, Senegal.