Leah Woodward Wiley has a BA from Florida A&M University and a Masters of Mass Communication from the University of Florida. Leah served as the President of the Black Graduate Student Organization and produced several short documentary films during her time at the University of Florida. Her primary reason for pursuing a career in organizing came into focus as she saw the limitations of consciousness raising without action.
When reflecting on this realization, Leah writes, “It wasn’t until I was introduced to DART that I had discovered the power of organizing. Before then, I had imagined myself making prolific films that would agitate people, but I learned that this is not enough. DART doesn’t document problems in our communities and pray for action, it teaches people how to organize to win.” Between 2005 and 2011, Leah assisted and led several successful campaigns as a DART organizer. In 2005, her organization received commitments from the director of the Early Learning coalition to provide funding for a full-day of Pre-K programs for any child whose parents earn less than 200% of the poverty level. As of 2009, over 3,293 4-year-olds from low-income families in Pinellas County, FL have been able to attend Pre-K programs as a result.
A separate campaign resulted in the implementation of district-wide discipline programs for more than 40,000 students in 37 public schools. These schools have witnessed a 60% drop in suspension rates. In 2011, Leah made the transition to DART staff to begin work as the network’s National Training Director.