Our Staff, Youth Leaders and Board of Directors
Our staff are deeply committed to creating liberatory spaces for youth-led and intergenerational social movement work.
Laura J. Ramírez was born in Mexico City and raised in Nezahualcoyotl and Little Village from the age of 13. She holds a doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work to advance a quality public education for all children at the local, national, and international levels spans the gamut of grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, collective responses to injustice, community building and healing, and radical acts of resistance. In 2011, she became part of the 43-day sit-in for a library and field house, known as “La Casita” in the heart of the Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen in the city of Chicago. She has also helped to build an international network to demand accountability from the Mexican government in the enforced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students. A Spanish teacher by training, she has taught in Chicago area public schools, and she has also worked for over 13 years as a youth worker and human rights enforcer.
Director of Youth Programs
Tony is a multi-issue community builder working and living within an anti-oppression and harm reduction framework. Most recently, Alvarado-Rivera completed his tenure at Broadway Youth Center as the Mentor Program Coordinator. Additional experience includes work with the groundbreaking About Face Youth Theatre and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in New York.
Jacqulyn lives her work. She blends theory and practice to address the social and institutional impact of power and oppression on our physical, emotional and political bodies. Her work prioritizes the intersections where politics, policy, identity and institutions meet. She draws on her background in political theory, grassroots organizing, strategy, popular education and healing justice to support others as they become agents for their physical, political and emotional wellness. Though a seasoned facilitator, youth advocate and post-secondary school educator, you may also find her in private practice as a licensed massage therapist. A proud daughter of Chicago’s West Side, she carries the lessons and values her community has taught her as she travels to teach and learn about African diasporic technologies and traditions.
Former board member and adult ally with the Young Women’s Empowerment Project and co-founder of Sage Community Health Collective, Tanuja Jagernauth is currently exploring the practice of healing justice and prison abolition through theatre and ceramic arts. When she is not constructing plays or creating vessels for community building, Tanuja loves listening to music, walking around, and taking photos. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @tanuja_devi or check out her blog at tanujadevi.wordpress.com.
Xavier Danae MaatRa is a community organizer and activist from Southern New Jersey. For over a decade he has traveled the country as a organizer in the labor movement, social justice workshop facilitator and youth advocate. Before joining CFS, Xavier worked with LGBT youth through the Drop in Program at the Broadway Youth Center and helped to build a coalition of youth agencies to strengthen youth programs on Chicago’s Southwest side. In his free time, Xavier is a self-proclaimed music fiend, budding poet, and student of Pan African Studies. He’s passionate about creating workshops that showcase the connection between popular education, people’s history and the rhythms of Funk, Hip Hop and Jazz as tools of resistance, transformation, and political change.
2015 Freedom Fellow
2016 Freedom Fellow
2016 Freedom Fellow
2016 Freedom Fellow
University of Chicago
Senior Mutual Fund Accountant, Jackson National Asset Management
Program Officer, Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Sociology Instructor, Northwestern Illinois University
Community Justice Faculty Affiliate, Adler University
Program Director, Illinois Justice Project