Yamani earned a B.S. at Cornell University where she studied the intersections of power, place and policy. She earned an M.Arch at University of Washington, focusing on public participation in the design and development of urban communities. Yamani is a staunch advocate for youth empowerment and self-determination and has over a decade of experience working from an asset based approach in program design, implementation, management and evaluation in youth serving organizations and institutions in Chicago. Outside of school, she has studied leadership, community organizing, and social entrepreneurship in community based organizations throughout the city. Most recently, she worked at Chicago Public Schools as Manager of Program Development and Support of over 200 work-force development programs in 14 different career pathways at 60 different schools. However, throughout her inter-disciplinary work history, she has worked with diverse populations of people ranging from girls and women who are homeless to men who are incarcerated in maximum-security prisons, on topics ranging from art and culture to personal and community development, social change, work-force development, civic participation and philanthropy. She firmly believes in the inter-related nature of social justice issues and uses both a creative and analytical skill set to tackle the most critical challenges of our time in creating equal opportunity and access to education, health and economic security.
Joy is a passionate community advocate whose life and career have been guided by a commitment to social and reproductive justice. Prior to ICAH, Joy lived and worked in Central North Carolina and Western New York, joining the ICAH team in August 2010 as an Organizing and Policy Intern and later transitioning to Project Manager and the Manager of Sexual Health Education. In her role as Deputy Director, she oversees ICAH’s education and youth development programming, supports the Executive Director with evaluation and internal operations, represents ICAH on multiple local & statewide committees, and continues to train and educate adults who support the sexual health, rights, and identities of youth in Illinois. Joy is a NCHEC Certified Health Education Specialist with an MPH from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and an MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work. Outside of her work at ICAH, Joy is an adjunct instructor at UIC and devotes time to local and national feminist, adoptee justice, Asian American, and LGBTQ community building, currently serving as a Core Member of i2i: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago and LGBTQ Editor for Gazillion Voices Magazine. In 2013, Joy was named to the Windy City Times’ “30 Under 30” List and has also been honored with a Breaking Barriers Award from the CFW Asian American Leadership Council and a Civic Engagement, Community Service, and Community Organizing (CECSCO) Award from the UIC Gender and Women’s Studies Department.
Aisha was the Domestic Violence Educator & Trainer for Apna Ghar, Inc. (Our Home), where she trained and educated service providers on how to provide culturally competent services to immigrant victims of domestic violence. Prior to this position, Aisha was a shelter resident advocate, case manager, and reproductive justice advocate providing direct services to victims of domestic violence at Apna Ghar’s emergency shelter. Aisha earned her B.A. in philosophy with a minor in cultural anthropology at the University of Kansas where she focused on how our cultures influence our way of thinking. She earned her M.A. in interdisciplinary humanities from the University of Chicago focusing on postcolonial theory and human rights. Aisha is committed to serving underrepresented communities through education and empowerment and is excited to share her passion with ICAH.
, Administrative Operations and Development Coordinator
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Upon graduating from the University of Illinois, with a B.A. in Political Science, Brittany joined team ICAH in 2012. She was introduced to the field of development work for non-profits at the Perry School Community Services Center, an organization dedicated and committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and generating holistic, social and empowering resources to do so. There, she assisted in preparing grants, organizing fundraisers, participated in direct community service, and so much more. At ICAH she continues to assist with development and administrative related tasks. Brittany believes that everyone deserves to live in a healthy, peaceful, equitable world and is committed to work that supports these goals.
Jenni joined ICAH in 2012 to become Communications Director with a focus on cultural advocacy via strategic communications, working to both create and curate ICAH's digital content and social media, graphic designs for print and web, and assist in campaigns that aim to transform public consciousness around youth sexual health, rights, and identity. After earning two bachelors degrees in English Literature and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, she followed with a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Cornell University. She completed her PhD in Urban Geography at the University of Minnesota, and her dissertation is titled, "Baltimore's Urban Fix: Sounds of Excess and Exclusion in Station North." In each of those paths of study, Jenni focused on ways to represent people's experiences through writing, sound, design, and digital media. Most recently she worked as Communications Director for the University YMCA of UIUC where she advocated for social justice, immigrant rights, and access to the arts alongside student volunteers, and she has brought these skills to bear on her work in cultural advocacy, youth rights, sexual health, and urban mapping.
Roxane earned her Bachelors of Science at Loyola University Chicago in Health Systems Management. The education that Roxane gained at Loyola allowed her to become an advocate for the youth she has served. Roxane has 10 years of experience working in school based health centers, clinics, and Chicago Public Schools. She has developed, implemented, and evaluated programming for youth in the areas of teen pregnancy prevention, nutrition and fitness, and violence prevention. During her time in the Humboldt park and West Town area, Roxane established a health promotion and disease prevention program tailored to the youth in these communities that were not only adolescent friendly but culturally relevant. This programming lead to the pairing with Northwestern University, where Roxane sat on the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Community (ARCC) steering committee. ARCC’s main goal is supporting community-based research that allowed Roxane to be involved in a research project of the development of a nutrition and fitness curriculum aimed at teens. While working with John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Roxane developed her skills in community-based research in the area of HIV prevention and needs assessment. Working with youth in the Franklin Park and Pilsen areas, has given Roxane a broad view of issues facing Chicagoland youth. Roxane joined ICAH in October 2012 as the Peer Health Ambassador specialist in support of the Peer Health Ambassador (PHA) Program and the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) with Chicago Public School. Roxane is very excited to join the team to work on these two great projects. Roxane enjoys presenting at conferences on the work she has been involved in, educating youth on healthier living, and being a voice for Chicago’s youth.
Rosa Yadira Ortiz
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As an educator, activist, and grassroots fundraiser, Rosa is committed to multi-issue organizing that is affirming of multiple identities and grounded in the belief that we can fuel our own movements. Rosa has nearly ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector in the areas of student affairs, community engagement and trainings, and development and communications. Most recently, she served as the Development and Communication Manager at Western States Center working to achieve racial, gender, and environmental justice through individual fundraising, grants management, and communications strategies. Prior to moving to Portland, OR, Rosa was the Midwest Community Educator for Lambda Legal, where she provided numerous trainings and engaged community members and organizations throughout the Midwest on LGBTQ justice. In this work, she focused particularly on the intersections of LGBTQ, people of color, and immigrant communities. Rosa has organized with Dyke March Chicago, served as Board President of Amigas Latinas, and worked in student affairs at the University of Chicago. She holds a Master's in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor's degrees from DePaul University in Spanish and Latin American/Latino Studies.
, Chicagoland Organizing Manager
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Tiffany received her B.A. in Human Services from Villanova University and brings a wealth of knowledge from her rich experiences in youth development work, a mission trip to Cambodia, and two years in Americorps. While serving in Americorps, she proudly implemented after school program activities followed by a consecutive year in which she coordinated the intergenerational literacy program in an elementary school. These experiences proved fundamental to her desire to work with underserved youth and resulted in the pursuit of her Master's Degree in Social Work from DePaul University. During her first year at DePaul, Tiffany served as an intern at Alternatives, Inc. where she was able to engage young women in weekly social justice workshops and it was in her second year of the MSW program that she was introduced to the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health. She served as an intern and Community Organizer with ICAH and has joined the staff as the Youth Development and Advocacy Coordinator. She works with the School of Justice and most directly with the Illinois Youth Policy Council and the Sex-Ed Loop, both of which engage youth in sexual health education advocacy work throughout the state.
, Education & Arts Justice Manager
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Nikki Zaleski holds her Bachelor of Science in Gender Studies and Performance Studies from Northwestern University, where she concentrated on community-based devised theater as well as gender-focused performance. She also holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from DePaul University, where she combined Public Health and Theater Directing coursework. Nikki came to ICAH through her work with Sisters Empowering Sisters, a reproductive justice and leadership group for young women previously sponsored by the Chicago Girls' Coalition. Nikki is the Founding Artistic Director for FYI Performing Health Collective (now a program of ICAH), which designs participatory theater experiences surrounding sexual health and sexual violence for schools and programs. She is an Artistic Associate for Sojourn Theater as well as a founding member of Ag47, an arts mentorship collective that serves girls in the Logan Square neighborhood. Nikki has worked in public schools as a teaching artist through Urban Gateways, Communities in Schools of Chicago, and Redmoon Theater. She also works with Northwestern University, recently as visiting faculty for a class that developed a freshmen orientation performance program on sexual violence.