Chicago, IL (August 20, 2015)—The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (the Alliance) announces the appointment of four new members to its Board of Directors— Antonio Hernandez, Founder and Managing Partner at Globovoz Communications; Rebecca Kling, an artist and educator; Jahaan Abdullah, a licensed professional counselor in Illinois; and Troy Williams, Culinary Arts Coordinator at the Center on Halsted. As of July, Casey Horton has assumed the role of Board Chair, and was preceded by Jeff Edwards, who remains on the board as immediate past chair. Anthony Papini, Executive Director, who recently completed his first year with the Alliance, reiterated what an honor it was to work with the Alliance’s remarkable Board and added—“I am especially grateful to Jeff for his continuous support and encouragement. I look forward to working with Casey in his new role and to learning from each of the respected professionals on our Board.”

Hernandez brings to the Alliance his communications expertise and will support the Alliance in developing communications strategy to create and enhance external partnerships. His work as a diversity and inclusion champion in the corporate sector has included managing programs that mirror the work of the Alliance, such as promoting conversations on education and the importance of inclusion of people from all walks of life and experiences. Kling is the Program Manager at TransTech Social Enterprises as well an artist and educator who has worked with youth for over a decade, including trans* and gender-variant youth. She hopes to support the Alliance in its effort to collaborate with allied organizations around the state and country to present a unified front in the push for LGBTQ youth support, as well as highlight the many intersectional issues that impact LGBTQ youth.

Abdullah is currently a doctoral student in the field of Counselor Education & Supervision, and is a strong advocate for social justice. She aims to work closely with the Alliance and other professionals to build upon the goals of creating inclusive policies and safer environments for the LGBTQ community both in and out of schools. Williams, who works for the Center on Halsted, is a strong advocate for inclusivity and hopes to hope to use his skills and experience as an international educator, facilitator, writer and performer to serve the Alliance as it cements its vision of promoting safe and inclusive environments using research-based advocacy.

Papini welcomed the new board members, saying—“Their commitment to and personal passion for safe schools in Illinois and commitment to addressing issues intersectionally and with commitment to social justice is well known.  Their appointment strengthens the Alliance’s base and demonstrates the Board's commitment to educational justice and working towards equity for youth across Illinois.”