Jonathan Lykes

Jonathan Lykes
Location: Washington, District of Columbia Cohort Start Year: 2017 Project Topic: Violence and Trauma Populations Served: At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, LGBTQ+ Communities
Policy Analyst and National Youth Organizer
Center for the Study of Social Policy

My interdisciplinary approach to art, activism, and anti-oppression work merges policy change, artistic expression, and activism. Combining these forms of social transformation—and harnessing their synergy—I work to create awareness, promote personal healing, surmount institutional barriers, and generate systemic change. I am also a community organizer, serving as co-chair of the national board for Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), a movement of young adults using a Black, queer, feminist lens and direct-action organizing to advocate for community and systemic change. I also served as artistic director for BYP100’s freedom song and chant album, The Black Joy Experience, helping to teach music and holistic energy through the Black radical tradition.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: House & Ballroom Community (HBC) Liberation Project
My goal through this network is to confront systemic oppression and achieve liberation by building power within the House Ballroom Community. Through organizing Ballroom-styled direct actions, connecting the community to resources, and working with participants worldwide, we can shift resources and help individuals make self-determined decisions about their lives. The HBC needs educational, financial, and leadership development resources that will allow us to build the world we want for our community. Through my strategic initiative, I will work to educate and advocate through radical love by addressing trauma, emphasizing health and wellness, protecting safe and sacred space, and intentionally lifting up the self-care and self-determination of the House & Ballroom Community.

I am a Black queer artist, activist, and policy analyst. I work at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) as a Policy Analyst and National Youth Organizer, addressing disproportionality and disparities that affect Black and Brown LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming youth impacted by the oppressive actions of deep-end systems (child welfare, mental health, homelessness, and criminal justice). My work with the get R.E.A.L initiative at CSSP situates me to merge my multidisciplinary artistic background with public policy reform, community organizing, and systems change work.