University of Illinois at Chicago

City of Black Women's Shoulders: Examining Policy-Relevant Educational Efforts for Liberation in Chicago

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posted on 2023-05-01, 00:00 authored by Glenance LaVerne Green
This study examines how Black women leading Black-led organizations (BLOs) work toward Black liberation, and the characteristics or attributes that exist across BLOs led by Black women. It explores how Black women lead and whether the approaches they are using to help us get free leverage similar strategies, independent of one another. I argue that education policy must be contextual and rooted in the assets and educational practices of the communities most harmed and historically disproportionately impacted, particularly those led by Black women. I also argue that, based on our collective marginalized identities of being Black and woman, we negotiate and navigate policy-relevant priorities in alignment with the expertise of our lived experiences to strategically advance an agenda toward the liberation of all people. I leverage Black Feminist Thought and radical Black feminism as the overarching theoretical frameworks to autoethnographically tell this story through the lens and work of the Black Researchers Collective, a grassroots community-based organization on the south side of Chicago training and equipping communities with research tools to be more civically engaged and policy informed. This study includes the collection and analysis of program workshop applicant data (n=155), 129 participant workshop surveys (n=43), 200 participant workshop journals (n=50), post-program workshop interviews (n=7), Board meeting observations (n=10), and interviews with Black women working within (n=8) and external to (n=16) the Black Researchers Collective. Study findings indicate that Black women are resisting through education. Black women across the south and west sides of Chicago are developing, curating, and employing various education models in community as a key mechanism to collectively resist systems of oppression and collectively help us get free. Black women are using varied educational techniques and strategies to carry out and amplify their organization's mission and values; the successful outcomes of which suggest possible implications for education policy on a state and local level.



Nguyen, Nicole


Nguyen, Nicole


Educational Policy Studies

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

McDowell, Tiffany Stovall, David Thompson, Julian Irby, Decoteau Superfine, Ben

Submitted date

May 2023

Thesis type



  • en

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