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LSNA Announces New Executive Director

Juliet De Jesus Alejandre who will become the Executive Director of LSNA in May 2020.

 

LSNA Announces New Executive Director

Juliet De Jesus Alejandre, LSNA’s Youth Director, has been selected as the incoming Executive Director of Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA). She will begin her journey as Executive Director at LSNA’s 58th Annual Congress in May 2020. 

Since joining LSNA in 2006, De Jesus Alejandre began to develop safe spaces within high schools and the community for young people of color to experience their personal and collective power. LSNA’s Youth Organizing Team has developed a strong racial justice framework that centers Latinx youth who grew up in the community in actions, policy conversations, and strategy meetings. Youth leaders’ analyses and experiences with gentrification, violence, resource-starved schools, and deportation guide LSNA’s leadership development programming and advocacy for policy change, and has urged LSNA to form an organizing model that combines trauma-informed healing practices with policy change and direct action. 

According to LSNA Board President Norma Rios-Sierra, “LSNA is a strong organization that needs a leader who is willing to lead with compassion and love. Someone who understands that it is only with love and inclusion that we can begin to build equity in our communities. Juliet is just that person. Her experience in life and her work with youth and parents demonstrates her ability to not only build leadership but to create the systemic change that is increasingly necessary in our city.”

De Jesus Alejandre identifies as a brown, mixed-race Latina, co-parenting mother of three sons. “My sons Nano, Mateo, and Santi,” she says, “know that loving my whole self and my people is a necessary political stance.” She added, “I believe that personal healing and accountability are inseparable from collective justice. As a mother of two young children with disabilities, I understand the pain caused by systems built to dismiss both children of color and disabled/differently-abled bodies/minds and know what it’s like to have to fight with dignity anyway, every day.” She added that she is “shaped by the struggles and resiliency of my parents John and Julie De Jesus, as well as by my grandparents, whose cultural teachings and trips back home ensured that Puerto Rico and Ecuador were born in me.”

This is a key moment for the organization as LSNA is welcoming a new Executive Director for the first time in 30 years. LSNA Executive Director Nancy Aardema will be retiring at the end of this fiscal year. In addition, 2022 will mark LSNA’s 60th anniversary of advancing racial equity, leader development, and models of civic engagement. Every year, LSNA trains hundreds of low-income leaders who are deeply invested in LSNA’s work, creating a leadership pipeline. Many LSNA staff, in fact, started out in LSNA programs.

Nancy Aardema, current Executive Director of LSNA with LSNA Youth Program Instructor, Arely Barrera.

 According to Aardema, “It is natural and organic for LSNA to select the next Executive Director from among LSNA’s staff and who is from the community. We are so pleased Juliet has accepted this position. She has done deep work around healing justice and racial and gender equity with youth and parent leaders and has formally studied those issues that most deeply impact our communities.”

De Jesus Alejandre also received the Kellogg Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Fellowship and the Cultivate Women of Color Fellowship. She holds an MA in Community Development from North Park University in Chicago and a BA in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  

 

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