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Jonathan Lykes, AB'12, AM'13

Policy Analyst Supporting LGBTQ and Black Youth

Originally hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Jonathan Lykes graduated from the College in 2012 with an A.B. in Political Science, which he followed up with an A.M. at the Social Service Administration in 2013. He is now a policy analyst at the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, DC.

How are you involved in LGBT organizations or causes?
At the Center for the Study of Social Policy, I work with the getREAL initiative. The ultimate goal of this work is to create lasting policy and practice change within the nation’s child welfare system to benefit and support LGBTQ youth. I am also the co-chair of the DC Chapter of Black Youth Project 100. Through BYP100 we hope to create the next freedom movement of our generation through a black queer feminist framework that focuses on building transformative leadership development, non-violent direct action organizing, advocacy, and education initiatives.

How do you stay involved with UChicago?
My continued involvement with the University of Chicago is primarily through the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, The Black Youth Project, and the School for Social Service Administration. Each year I host SSA students (through the Center for the Study of Social Policy) and speak with them about current national community change initiatives and current community organizing efforts taking place across the nation.

Were you involved in LGBT programming on campus while a student? What was your experience as an LGBT student on campus like?
I had a great experience as a queer student on campus. I worked for OMSA and the Office of LGBTQ Student Life (5710) for 4 years, and supported programming efforts and student life initiatives. These spaces taught me theory, practice and how to create a long lasting family-like atmosphere. I also helped to create the Emerging Minds Project at 5710, where we brought students together to discuss intersectional ideas around race, sexuality, gender and more.

How would you like to see the LGBT Alumni Network evolve in the future?
I think the LGBTQ network needs to focus on being more intersectional. We need to galvanize our talents and resources to support many of the systemic changes that need to take place around the country, this includes tackling systemic racism, shifting broken systems that further marginalize LGBTQ communities of color. We also need to be active in the trans movement, and continue to support organizations that further the visibility and equity of our trans brothers and sisters.

Please share a fun fact about yourself.
In 2014, I was named to the first-ever 100 Black LGBTQ/SGL Emerging Leader to Watch list by the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). NBJC’s is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and ending racism and homophobia.

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