Current Leader

Aliyah Abdur-Rahman

Aliyah Abdur-Rahman
Location: Durham, North Carolina Cohort Start Year: 2020 Project Topics: Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Economic Stability, Education, Environmental Justice, Food Systems and Nutrition, Leadership Development, Public, Population and Community Health, Racial Justice, Social Sector/Non-Profit Populations Served: African-American/Black, Low-Income Communities, Rural Communities, Urban Communities

Despite the money and proliferation of institutional, entrepreneurial, nonprofit, and philanthropic players, social change efforts have wielded little systemic change. And those most impacted continue to suffer under oppressive systems despite the overabundance of “programming.” In response to these conditions, along with other residents of East Durham, N.C., in 2012 Aliyah co-founded Communities In Partnership, a community-rooted organization focused on moving black and brown communities from tokens to self-mobilized. Aliyah envisions an equitable model of social change in which marginalized communities become the architects of their own liberation and flourish across all social determinants of health.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Innovation for Liberation
Innovation for Liberation is a BIPOC-led ecosystem and power transfer model for radical social change. Together, we imagine liberation; create, test, and scale strategies to reach that vision; and share insights broadly to build momentum and movement. We will innovate to build capacity, creating a food justice and education justice think tank composed of BIPOC leaders with our education partner, Village of Wisdom. Technical assistance, including evaluation, strategic planning, and ops, will equip BIPOC leaders with the tools to meet self-determined needs. We will organize and mobilize. Grounded in food and educational justice, we will grow movements based on our shared goals, scaling interconnected local strategies. We will break down silos across oppressive systems, identifying structural barriers, defining and mobilizing aligned strategies, and tracking results. Shared knowledge will accelerate learning and create collective power and thought leadership. We will amplify change. Our research and education will empower impacted communities to redesign systems on their own terms. Research partners at Duke and University of North Carolina will support analysis and reporting through decolonized research models. We will release media and reports across multiple formats, making the case for liberatory systems.

Most recently Aliyah launched Innovation For Liberation, a platform dedicated to operationalizing an equitable model for social change, measuring impact through decolonized research models, and producing BIPOC thought leadership. Aliyah is also the senior fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness at Duke’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, where her research explores ways in which social entrepreneurship can be a lever to social justice by elevating community-rooted models of innovation.