Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Niketa Brar

Co-Founder and Executive Director | Chicago United for Equity
Pronouns: she/her

Niketa Brar is a civic systems organizer and founding executive director of Chicago United for Equity. She comes to this after working as part of legal defense teams for indigent clients, as a middle school math teacher and dean, and working to bring a community-centered approach to government as a policy adviser to elected officials in school districts, municipal, and state governments. She co-founded CUE alongside Elisabeth Greer, as the two served on the Local School Council for National Teachers Academy and worked together to organize a citywide coalition that successfully blocked the school closing the school faced in 2017.

Twitter: @niketasays

Presentations from Facing Race 2022

Inside / Outside Strategy: Building the Long Game for the Future We Seek

What does it take to build a long-game strategy to organize policymakers, mobilizers, and narrative shapers, in the city ranked dead last for civic trust? In 2017, Chicago United for Equity started as a question, asking what was possible if trust could be kindled between organizers, policymakers, artists, and researchers who shared a commitment to community-led policymaking.

In the five years since, the CUE network has grown in both cultivating community-led policymaking outside of government, while simultaneously working to open up government from the inside. This session will start with the story of origin for CUE’s work, and the CUE Fellowship model that began in 2017. Participants will dive into two stories of change that have emerged inside and outside government: a community-led budgeting process launched in the midst of the uprisings, and a government-led process to engage community leaders in responding to the crisis of the pandemic.

In illustrating these case studies, participants will engage with models for cross-sector collaboration, lessons learned for the challenges along the way, and what foundations are necessary to sustain relationships across the inside/outside game.

Speakers: Niketa Brar, Candace Moore