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Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative Appoints Patrice James As Its Founding Director!


February 22, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact: info@Ilblackadvocacy.org


Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative Appoints Patrice James As Its Founding Director!


February 22, 2022 — Social justice and racial equity leader Patrice James has been named the FoundingExecutive Director of the Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative (IBAI), a statewide Black-focused, power building, advocacy organization. Throughout her career, James has tackled inequities within the criminal legal system andmore recently the child welfare system. Her appointment provides the opportunity to continue her life’s work in service to Black people and Black communities and to carry forward IBAI’s bold vision and work.


In 2021, IBAI was founded by a dedicated group of Illinois leaders due to the heightened sense of urgency to create and advance a statewide Black Advocacy agenda. It was catalyzed by the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black lives and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Chicagoan Laquan McDonald and others. This Initiative builds on the work of advocates, grassroots organizers, and social justice movement leaders across Illinois. It also acknowledges a long pre-existing desire and early efforts to launch a unified agenda dedicated to political, social and economic improvement of Black people and communities in Illinois.


AsFounding Executive Director, James will utilize her remarkable ability to organize disparate and aligned interests in service of collective strategies. She will lead the development of IBAI toward the creation of a plan for coalition-building, collective action, and policy solutions focused on supporting and maintaining progress, and repairing the harms of systemic racism and divestment in Black communities over generations.


“We are proud to have a leader of Patrice’s experience and caliber trailblazing the creation of this next generationorganization. Patrice’s track record of working collaboratively with policy advocates, grassroots leaders and social justice advocates make her uniquely qualified to lead IBAI. We look forward to supporting her leadership as she builds a statewide, community informed, organization that supports and creates positive change for Black Illinoisans,” said Sharon Bush and Deborah Harrington, Co-Chairs of IBAI’s Steering Committee.


Prior to IBAI, James was the Director of Community Justice at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law where sheimagined and built a robust systemic policy reform agenda, alongside the Community Justice team members and directly impacted people, focused on systemic reform of both the Illinois criminal legal and child welfare systems.



Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative


February 22, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact: info@Ilblackadvocacy.org


Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative Appoints Patrice James As Its Founding Director


February 22, 2022 — Social justice and racial equity leader Patrice James has been named the Founding Executive Director of the Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative (IBAI), a statewide Black-focused, power building, advocacy organization. Throughout her career, James has tackled inequities within the criminal legal system and more recently the child welfare system. Herappointment provides the opportunity to continue her life’s work in service to Black people and Black communities and to carry forward IBAI’s bold vision and work.

In 2021, IBAI was founded by a dedicated group of Illinois leaders due to the heightened sense of urgency to create and advance a statewide Black Advocacy agenda. It was catalyzed by the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black lives and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Chicagoan Laquan McDonald and others. This Initiative builds on the work of advocates, grassroots organizers, and social justice movement leaders across Illinois. It also acknowledges a long pre-existingdesire and early efforts to launch a unified agenda dedicated to political, social and economic improvement of Black people andcommunities in Illinois.


As Founding Executive Director, James will utilize her remarkable ability to organize disparate and aligned interests in service of collective strategies. She will lead the development of IBAI toward the creation of a plan for coalition-building, collective action, and policy solutions focused on supporting and maintaining progress, and repairing the harms of systemic racism and divestment in Black communities over generations.

“We are proud to have a leader of Patrice’s experience and caliber trailblazing the creation of this next generation organization.Patrice’s track record of working collaboratively with policy advocates, grassroots leaders and social justice advocates make her uniquely qualified to lead IBAI. We look forward to supporting her leadership as she builds a statewide, community informed, organization that supports and creates positive change for Black Illinoisans,” said Sharon Bush and Deborah Harrington, Co-Chairs of IBAI’s Steering Committee.


Prior to IBAI, James was the Director of Community Justice at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law where she imagined and builta robust systemic policy reform agenda, alongside the Community Justice team members and directly impacted people, focused on systemic reform of both the Illinois criminal legal and child welfare systems.

Previously, she was a founding attorney of Still She Rises, Tulsa, where she provided holistic legal representation, primarily to Black and Indigenous women with low-incomes in the historically Black community of north Tulsa. There, she engaged in community building and advocated for shifting the narrative of women involved in the criminal justice system “from broken women to broken systems.” Prior to Tulsa, James was a public defender at the Bronx Defenders, where she provided zealous criminal defense representation to people primarily living in the Bronx, NY.


In referencing her new role, James remarked, “I am thrilled to join the ranks of other Illinois advocacy leaders and to build IBAI into a mission driven organization that centers Black people, our communities, and experiences, with a goal of ensuring that Illinois continues to be a state where all of its residents can thrive irrespective of race or socio-economic status.”


James is the Co-Founder of the Black Public Defender Association and is currently Vice-Chair of the Board. She also serves as an Advisory Board member of the Women’s Justice Institute and is an appointed member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defense. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Charleston Southern University and a JD from Northern Kentucky University.


James will assume her responsibilities as Founding Executive Director of the Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative on February 22,2022.


The Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative engaged Kittleman & Associates to conduct a search for its Founding Director. Kittleman & Associates is a national executive search firm that specializes in the recruitment of CEOs for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, public charities and philanthropic organizations. Kittleman recruits leaders for the entire nonprofit sectorincluding social justice and advocacy, education, human services and healthcare. For more information, visit www.kittlemansearch.com.





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