Jakada Imani joined the staff of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in 1999. After leading several of the Ella Baker Center’s flagship initiatives, Jakada became the organization’s Executive Director in 2007. During his tenure as Executive Director, Jakada has grown the organization’s budget and staff by 30 percent and strengthened the organization’s capacity to win local, state and national policy reform.
Jakada founded the Ella Baker Center’s Soul of the City campaign to organize Oakland residents for a more inclusive local economy and the Heal the Streets program to train young people as violence prevention policy advocates. Jakada also led organization’s successful efforts to pass the Green Jobs Act, federal legislation that invested $125 million of dollars into green collar jobs training, and to defeat two statewide ballot measures, 2008’s Proposition 6 to sink more state money into failed lock ‘em up criminal justice approaches and 2010’s Proposition 23, the dirty energy proposition that would have overturned California landmark climate legislation. The victory against Proposition 6 was the first time a lock ‘em up criminal justice spending initiative had been defeated at the polls in California history. Jakada and Ella Baker Center played a pivotal role in educating and mobilizing low-income communities of color to defeat this initiative.
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