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.
Interim Executive Director
Dr. Keisha Farmer-Smith’s years of youth development experience include managing after-school programs and coordinating services with young women in Uptown, Lakeview and Rogers Park as well as DCFS youth. Keisha earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois in 2011 and works with Morten Group, a consulting firm dedicated to building diversity, equity and inclusion for all humans. A co- founder of the Chicago Freedom School, since 2006 Keisha has supported the Freedom Fellowship; served as a member of the board (2008-2010 and 2013-2015) and most recently trained and supported the Youth Evaluation Storytellers (YES Team) in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
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.
Shruti Bakre came to CFS seeking ways to build collective knowledge and deepen their connection to movement spaces that are centering youth. Coming from a variety of organizing spaces, Shruti works on projects around food and land sovereignty, seeking to incorporate ways for youth to build relationships with the land and for food to be used as ways of healing and connection, drawing on processes she learned at the farmers immersion program at Soul Fire Farm, where they were able to further collaborate with food justice folks across the country. Shruti has worked on campaigns tied to housing initiatives with tenant groups in Chicago, ending fascism in India and military occupation in Kashmir, connecting global anti-imperial struggles with land justice and is deeply committed to centering youth voices and creating accessibility within these spaces, holding the understanding that youth are at the forefront of these struggles.
2015 Freedom Fellow
2016 Freedom Fellow
2016 Freedom Fellow
2016 Freedom Fellow
Executive Project Manager, The Resurrection Project
Staff Attorney, National Immigration Law Center
Program Coordinator, Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project & Organizing Director, Dissenters
American Friends Service Committee Chicago