SJI Coordinating Committee

Alice Kim

Alice Kim is an educator, cultural organizer, activist, and writer. She teaches and develops curriculum for the Gender and Women’s Studies program and Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also the Editor of Praxis Center, a new online resource center for scholar activists hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. A long-time death penalty and prison abolitionist, Alice is a founding member of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials project, a collective that documents the history of Chicago police torture through the arts and seeks justice for the survivors of police torture. In her activism, Alice embraces radical imagination, multi-ethnic organizing, and intersectionality. She writes about identity, family, coming of age as a first generation Korean American and issues connected to race and the prison industrial complex. You can read her writing on her blog Dancing the Dialectic. Alice was previously the Director of The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council that creates spaces for public conversations about social, political and cultural issues. She also worked as a national organizer for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Consortium Administrator for the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Alice received her B.A. from Northwestern University, M.A. from DePaul University, and most recently, her M.F.A. from Bennington College Writing Seminars.


Anna Guevarra

Anna Guevarra is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work combines qualitative and ethnographic methods in focusing on immigrant and transnational labor, the Filipino labor diaspora, and Asian and Asian American women in the global economy. She has published in interdisciplinary journals like Social Identities: Journal of Race, Nation, and Culture and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. She is the author of Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes: The Transnational Labor Brokering of Filipino Workers, published by Rutgers University Press in 2010. The book examines the multilayered process of brokering Filipino labor, the Philippines’ highly-prized export, culled from interviews with Filipino nurses and domestic workers. This book is the Winner of the 2010 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s Race, Class, and Gender Section. Dr. Guevarra is also the recipient of the 2010 Tanglaw Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education, which is a national award given to Filipino Americans by the Gintong Pamana (Golden Legacy) Awards Foundation. Prior to coming to UIC, she taught at Arizona State University from 2004-07. She also served as a former Fulbright Scholar and visiting researcher at De La Salle University’s Social Development Research Center in the Philippines and a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California Institute for Labor and Employment (ILE) at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her projects have been funded by various agencies, including the Ford Foundation, of which she serves as a Co-PI on a two-year funded project that examines the impact of low wage labor markets on Asian and Latina immigrant women in the U.S. Dr. Guevarra also serves on professional and community advisory boards, including the Carework Network, an international organization of researchers, policymakers, and advocates involved in various domains of carework and CIRCA-Pintig, a community arts organization dedicated to the development and popularization of community arts that speak of the U.S. immigrant experience. Dr. Guevarra’s current projects includes community-based partnerships with organizations like the Pilipino Worker Center in Los Angeles where they are examining the working conditions of Filipino immigrant caregivers in the context of the growing informalization of the home care industry. Another project she isdeveloping is with CIRCA-Pintig and the Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), which will examine the community engagement and civic participation of Filipinos in Chicago.

Barbara Ransby

Professor Barbara Ransby is an historian, writer and longtime community activist. She received her B.A. from Columbia University and her M.A. and Ph.D in History from the University of Michigan. Barbara Ransby is currently a Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies (director, 2008-2013), and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative. She previously served as Interim Vice Provost for Planning and Programs (2011 -2012). Her highly acclaimed biography, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision received eight national awards and recognitions. Professor Ransby is also winner of the prestigious Catherine Prelinger Prize for her contributions to women’s history. Her most recent book is Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson (Yale University Press, 2013). Ransby has also published in numerous scholarly and popular publications and lectures widely. She serves on the editorial boards of The Black Commentator, (an online journal); the London-based journal, Race and Class; the Justice, Power and Politics Book Series at University of North Carolina Press; and the Scholar’s Advisory Committee of Ms. Magazine, as well as the National Advisory Board of “Imagining America”. In the summer of 2012 she became the second Editor in Chief of SOULS, a critical journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society published quarterly since 1999. In addition to her scholarship, Professor Ransby is a public historian who works with many community based and activist organizations.

Beth Richie

Beth E. Richie is The Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and Professor of African American Studies and Criminology, Law and Justice at The University of Illinois at Chicago. The emphasis of her scholarly and activist work has been on the ways that race/ethnicity and social position affect women's experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors. Dr. Richie is the author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation (NYU Press, 2012) which chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during the time of mass incarceration in the United States and numerous articles concerning Black feminism and gender violence, race and criminal justice policy, and the social dynamics around issues of sexuality, prison abolition, and grassroots organizations in African American Communities. Her earlier book Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women, is taught in many college courses and often cited in the popular press for its original arguments concerning race, gender and crime. Dr. Richie is a qualitative researcher who is also working on an ethnographic project documenting the conditions of confinement in women's prisons. Her work has been supported by grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The National Institute for Justice and The National Institute of Corrections. Among others, she has been awarded the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, The Advocacy Award from the US Department of Health and Human Services, and The Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. Dr. Richie is a an board member of The Woods Fund of Chicago, The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community, The Center for Fathers’ Families and Public Policy and a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence.

David Stovall

David Stovall is an Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His scholarship investigates four areas 1) Critical Race Theory, 2) concepts of social justice in education, 3) the relationship between housing and education, and 4) the relationship between schools and community stakeholders. In the attempt to bring theory to action, he has spent the last ten years working with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that address issues of social justice. His current work has led him to become a member of the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School design team, which opened in the Fall of 2005 where he also serves as a volunteer social studies teacher. Furthering his work with communities, students, and teachers, Dr. Stovall works with a collective of college professors in California, Arizona, and New York who teach high school courses in addition to their duties and responsibilities as university faculty. “I’ve been working with this group for eight years. The idea is to provide historically underserved schools with college access through their interactions with us. We've been enrolling the students that take classes with us in our respective universities to get early college credit.” Dr. Stovall, a native of Chicago graduated from Luther HS South in 1990. He received his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His motivation for going into the field was the combination of family members, neighbors, and members of community organizations that supported him in doing educational justice work without fear of persecution.

Emily Williams

Emily holds a B.A. in Psychology from Beloit College and an M.A. in Women's and Gender Studies from DePaul University. She has a professional background in education and community-based program development. Her research interests include interpersonal experiences of racism and the interplay between systemic injustice and internalized oppression. In addition to her role with the Social Justice Initiative, Emily is the outreach coordinator for the Chicago Girl Talk Collective and is a contributing editor with the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce.

Dr. Fabricio E. Balcazar

Dr. Fabricio E. Balcazar, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Balcazar's primary research interest is in developing effective strategies for enhancing consumer empowerment and personal effectiveness among individuals with disabilities. Dr. Balcazar has conducted research over the past 25 years on several disability-related areas, such as the development of systematic approaches for the effective involvement of people with disabilities in consumer advocacy organizations; the development and evaluation of a model service delivery approach to increase consumers' empowerment in the VR service delivery system; the development of interventions for helping Latino youth with disabilities who have dropped out of high school return to education and/or find jobs they can keep; the development of interventions to help minority students with disabilities transition into employment (including the development of entrepreneurial skills and start-ups for small businesses) and career development; and the promotion of cultural competence in rehabilitation services, among others. Dr. Balcazar has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and recently co-edited a book entitled Race, culture and disability: Issues in Rehabilitation Research and Practice. Dr. Balcazar is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Gayatri Reddy

Gayatri Reddy earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Emory University in 2001, with a dissertation entitled With Respect to Sex: Charting Hijra Identity in Hyderbad, India. Her new research, funded by the Social Science Research Council, is on a project entitled "Queer Borders: Constructions of South Asian (male) Queer Identities in the U.S. " She has also held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Association for Women in Science, and the National Science Foundation. This year she is teaching courses in both GWS and Anthropology, incorporating her interests in sexuality and health in South Asia. Dr. Reddy is the Chair of UIC's Asian American Studies Program.

Isis Ferguson

Isis Ferguson is a cultural worker in Chicago, IL. She is the Program Coordinator at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She translates her academic background in Gender and Cultural Studies (MA) and Black Studies and Women's Studies (BA) into curation work at the museum. In her role as Program Coordinator she develops imaginative and dynamic programming that supports progressive movement building and connects communities through art and justice-themed engagements. She brings over a decade of experience working with urban youth of color initiatives to her work at the museum. Her cultural and community work outside of Hull-House is devoted to feminist and artistic endeavors. Most dear to her are the projects Leftist Lounge Chicago, Venus Collective and Ella's Daughters.

Lisa Lee

Lisa Lee focuses on “making sure art and the creative experience are accessible, available and open to as many publics as possible.” Lee advocates social practice as art, in which an experience can alter the individual’s way of seeing the world more effectively than viewing an art object. Among her other objectives are the promotion of women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities, all of whom she sees as neglected in the museum-oriented art environment. Lee served for seven years as director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, where she reinvigorated the house as a place for dialogue on social justice and arts presentations. She expanded the scope and size of the core exhibition, opening a newly restored second floor to the public, and instituted Re-Thinking Soup, a 21st-century “soup kitchen” for discussion of issues of food equity. - See more at:

Lynette Jackson

Lynette Jackson is an associate professor of Gender and Women's Studies and African American Studies at UIC. She received her PhD. in African History from Columbia University in 1997. Dr. Jackson is the author of Surfacing Up: Psychiatry and Social Order in Colonial Zimbabwe (Cornell 2005) and numerous other articles and book chapters on topics relating to women, the state and medical and public health discourses in colonial and postcolonial Africa, particularly having to do with the regulation of African women's sexuality. Dr. Jackson's current research explores the history of child refugee diasporas from Southern Sudan, particularly focusing on two streams of unaccompanied children: The Lost Boys and Girls and the Cuban 600. She has also begun conducting research for a critical biography of Winnie Mandela. Dr. Jackson is engaged in social justice and human rights activism, with a particular focus on the human rights of women and girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered peoples in Africa. She serves on the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch, the World Refugee Day planning committee and held previous board memberships on Heartland Alliance's Human Care Services and Vanavevhu: Children of the Soil, an organization that caters to orphans and vulnerable children from Zimbabwe. Dr. Jackson also provides expert witness testimony in gender-based political asylum cases, particularly cases involving Female Genital Mutiliation. Recent radio interview on "African refugee children in diaspora: the Lost Boys and beyond" for WVON's African Diaspora Today program hosted by Carol Adams. April 25, 2010.


Megan Carney

Megan Carney provides vision and resources for collaborative programs that investigate and reveal diverse LGBTQ identities and histories using oral history collection, participatory workshops and a variety of public programs. Megan is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre & Music at UIC. She has an MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue and a BA from Kalamazoo College. Megan’s work in theatre, education and community development has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, a TCG Observership Grant, GLSEN Pathfinder Award, APA Presidential Citation, induction in Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant, and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. Megan’s writing on community-based art making is published online and in print. Megan is a co-founder of the celebrated LGBTQ youth theatre and leadership development program, About Face Youth Theatre, and a current member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.

Nadine Naber

Nadine Naber received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago and a member of the Diaspora Studies Cluster. She came to the University of Illinois from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she co-founded Arab American Studies (an Ethnic Studies unit within the Program in American Culture). She is author of Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism (NYU Press, 2012). She is co-editor, with Amaney Jamal, of Race and Arab Americans (Syracuse University Press, 2008). She is co-editor, with Rabab Abdulhadi and Evelyn Alsultany, of Arab and Arab American Feminisms Perspectives, winner of the Arab American Book Award 2012 (Syracuse University Press, 2010). Nadine is an editorial board of the Middle East Research and Information Project ; an advisory board member of the Expanding Frontiers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality book series wit the University of Nebraska Press; and a member of the Arab Families Working Group.Nadine is co-founder of the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, North America (cyber AWSA); Arab Movement of Women arising for Justice (AMWAJ) and Arab Women’s Activist Network (AWAN) and a former board member of Incite! Women of Color against Violence; Racial Justice 9-11; and the Women of Color Resource Center.

Prudence Browne

Prudence Browne is a Ph.D. candidate of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and Managing Editor of Souls Journal, housed at UIC. Her scholarly research is focused on post-disaster education reform.