Jamila is a queer, non- binary first generation Tunisian Arab American person of color community organizer & social worker from the south, now based in NYC.
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 LGBTQI immigrants that were previously detained 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 New York City.
They are a graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College with a degree in Community Organizing Social Work, with a specialization in Immigrants and Refugees. They are also a Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) at Columbia School of Social Work in New York City. Jamila comes to this work with personal and familial experiences with the incarceration system, a background in reproductive justice, working to center woman, specifically trans and queer, of color’s voices in movements, and witnessing 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 those that are currently or are previously incarcerated and free world allies.
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, New York City Council LGBT Caucus 2017 LGBT Champion, Step Feed’s Top 20 Arab Activist, National Association Of Social Workers of New York City ‘s 2017 Emerging Leaderships Award, Opportunity Agenda 2015 Communications Institute Fellow, and an Opportunity Agenda 2016 Creative Change Fellow.