Jamila is a queer, non-binary, first-generation, Tunisian-Arab American person of color, community organizer, and social worker from the South, now based in NYC whose preferred gender pronouns are they, them, and their.
As a long-time organizer, they are a founder and executive director of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. Founded in 2014, Jamila has worked with LGBTQI/ HIV+ immigrants in detention and post-detention. They have specifically worked on service provision, program development, organizing, advocacy, and policy around the realities of detention and violent xenophobic policies, while uplifting the voices of previously-detained LGBTQI immigrants through the podcast Queering Immigration. Jamila is also a member of the The Stonewall Foundation’s Levin-Goffe Committee, a scholarship program for immigrant students in NYC.
They are a graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College with a degree in Community Organizing Social Work and a specialization in Immigrants and Refugees. They are also a Seminar in Field Instructor (SIFI) at Columbia School of Social Work in New York City. Jamila comes to this work with personal and familial experiences in the incarceration system, a background in reproductive justice, working to center women (specifically trans and queer), and colored-voiced movements, as well as having witnessed the impacts of migration and racism in their formative years in Texas.
Jamila is a survivor of police brutality and the carceral system, but is fortunate to have been able to remain in the free world based on civil rights violations. They are also a leader of the NYC chapter of Black & Pink, an organization run and led by free world allies and those that are currently or were previously incarcerated.
Jamila is a contributor to the books Centering Intersectional Politics: Queer Migration Activisms “After Marriage’’, Profit/Protest Asylum, and Queer Migrations 2: Illegalization, Detention, and Deportation.
Jamila is the recipient of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York (MCCNY) 2017 HEART Award, the New York City Council LGBT Caucus 2017 LGBT Champion, the National Association Of Social Workers of New York City ‘s 2017 Emerging Leaderships Award, and is a Step Feed’s Top 20 Arab Activist, an Opportunity Agenda 2015 Communications Institute Fellow, and an Opportunity Agenda 2016 Creative Change Fellow.