Meet the Organizer: Jonathan Lykes
Jonathan Lykes is a Black queer artist, activist and policy analyst. He currently works at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), addressing disproportionality and disparities that affect LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth impacted by deep-end systems (child welfare, mental health, homelessness and criminal justice). He is the former artistic director of Performing Arts for Effective Civic Education (PAECE) Program at the University of Chicago, where he used interdisciplinary art and performance to help youth realize their roles as civically active members of the community who thrive toward the achievement of systemic change and social justice. Jonathan’s interdisciplinary approach to art, activism and anti-oppression work, merges policy change, artistic expression and activism. Combining these forms of social transformation—and harnessing their synergy—Jonathan works to create awareness, promote personal healing, surmount institutional barriers and generate systemic change. Jonathan’s current position as the Project Lead of the getR.E.A.L Initiative’s youth engagement plan at the CSSP, situates him to merge his multidisciplinary artistic background with public policy reform, community engagement and systems change work. Lykes is also a community organizer, currently serving as the co-chair of the DC Chapter of Black Youth Project 100, a movement of young adults using a black queer feminist lens to advocate for community and systemic change. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, where he also received his master’s degree from the School for Social Service Administration.