Current Leader

Jamillah Jordan

Jamillah Jordan
Location: Berkeley, California Cohort Start Year: 2020 Project Topics: Behavioral and Mental Health, Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Communications, Community/Civic Engagement, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Environmental Justice, Public Policy, Racial Justice Populations Served: African-American/Black, Children and Families, Low-Income Communities
Equity Studio Director
MIG, Inc

Jamillah’s vision for a Culture of Health leverages the power of planning to create thriving ecosystems of change. Her strategy involves advancing a significant paradigm shift by placing power and resources in the hands of community members—particularly people of color—to seed sustainable transformation. Jamillah believes that building inclusive and equitable communities requires collaboration across a broad range of sectors and disciplines to achieve collective impact. However, it’s essential to amplify solutions developed by frontline and grassroots communities most impacted by the complex forces of racism and discrimination.

Decisions about capital and social investments should be made and informed by community-driven leadership to reflect their needs and interests. This vision is characterized by cultural humility, respect, and deep listening, with the goal of ensuring that everyone can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Grounded in power sharing, this approach requires that government staff, consultants, and planners center the voices and experiences of impacted communities. In turn, historically marginalized communities are mobilized and equipped with a shared vision, intersectional approaches to create change, and adequate resourcing to support intergenerational healing.

In light of urgent calls to advance racial, economic, and social equity, a growing number of cities are creating equity offices and equity director positions. This emerging trend reflects increased and critical attention to addressing longstanding racial disparities. As the number of these offices continues to grow, many equity directors are experiencing challenges in the form of limited resources and staffing, lack of interagency coordination, and difficulty building public and political will to implement local equity agendas. The Equity Alliance will provide a vibrant, peer learning community of practice for equity directors of color working in California cities and counties. Our goals are to bring BIPOC equity directors from California together to 1) pool their expertise, exchange ideas and discuss promising practices and frameworks for navigating their institutions and advancing equitable policies, programs, and budgets; and,2) build authentic relationships and a culture of belonging among California equity directors, with a focus on healing, self-care practices, and navigating burnout. Given that this is an emergent field of practice, the Equity Alliance is committed to ensuring that equity directors have support to become transformational leaders.

As a community organizer, Jamillah collaborated with residents to improve unsafe housing conditions that were adversely impacting their health. Jamillah began to understand and explore how the built environment profoundly shapes our lives. Building on her grassroots experiences, Jamillah honed her ability to engage and connect with people of different backgrounds and perspectives, which grounds her work as a facilitator who can foster meaningful collaboration. During graduate school at UCLA, Jamillah was an active member of Planners of Color for Social Equity and raised awareness of socially just planning and progressive policymaking. She currently serves as the Equity Studio Director at MIG and her work focuses on co-creating actionable strategies to advance equity in the communities it serves and internally within the organization. Jamillah is also a volunteer of Recycling Black Dollars, an organization committed to economic development in the African American community by encouraging support of Black-owned businesses.

Click here to watch Jamillah’s Legacy Project video.