Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari

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Advocacy Director of the New York State Alliance for Quality Education (AQE)

Zakiyah Ansari is the Advocacy Director of the New York State Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the leading statewide organization that has been fighting for educational​ ​justice for the past 16 years. Zakiyah was one of the few parent advocates appointed to Mayor Bill ​Deb​lasio’s Transition Committee. Zakiyah resides in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. She is the mother of eight children and grandmother of 3. She is also a founding parent leader of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice a collaborative of community-based organizations whose members include culturally diverse parents, community members, students and educators,organizing a movement to end the inequities in the city’s public school system . Zakiyah has been invited to speak before parents, educators, elected officials, and administrators from all across the country about the importance of organizing parents and communities of color in schools. She is one of the parent voices in the film, Parent Power, produced by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. ​​​Zakiyah​​ ​c​o-initiated a national grassroots movement, “Journey for Justice,” an alliance currently composed of grassroots community-based organizations from over 2​4​ cities across the United States representing constituencies of youth, parents, and inter-generational organizations who have been impacted by the​ harmful policies of school​ closing, turnaround, and corporate charter ​expansion of schools in communities of color. Zakiyah represents her organization AQE in the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools ​(AROS) an unprecedented alliance of parent, youth, community and labor organizations that together represent over 7 million people nationwide. We are fighting to reclaim the promise of public education as our nation’s gateway to a strong democracy and racial and economic justice. Zakiyah is also a member of NYC Department of Education community schools steering and advisory committee. ​ ​Zakiya​h​ completed an 150-mile walk to Albany to demand the billions owed to NY public schools​ from a 10 year statewide equity decision called “Campaign for Fiscal Equity”.​ Zakiyah was featured in Essence magazine “Moms On the Front Lines”, she also appeared on MSNBC’s ​formally​ national program, Melissa Harris-Perry.