Author, Strategist, Leader
Charlene is the founder and executive director of the Chicago Center for Leadership and Transformation, a locally rooted and nationally connected learning community for political education, grassroots organizing, language and strategic communications capacity building.
Her work has been covered in several publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Chicago Reader, The Nation, Ebony and Essence Magazines. She has appeared on CNN, Democracy Now!, BBC and MSNBC. Charlene has also written for theRoot.com, CRISIS Magazine, Teen Vogue, Truthout, Colorlines and the Boston Review. She is recognized as one of the top 10 most influential African Americans by The Root 100, one of Ebony Magazine’s “Woke 100,” an Emerging Power Player in Chicago Magazine and is the 2017 recipient of the YWCA’s Dr. Dorothy I. Height Award.
A believer in telling more complete stories about the Black Radical Tradition, Charlene provides critical analysis, political education and leadership development training for activists across the globe. Charlene has served as a featured speaker at various institutions including Wellesley College, Shaw University, Princeton University, Northwestern University and her alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University. Charlene also received a Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
Charlene was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago where she currently resides and continues to lead and partake in social justice movements. Her inspirations include a range of Black women, including her mother, Ella Baker, Cathy Cohen, Marsha P. Johnson and Barbara Ransby. In her free time, Charlene loves to cook and believes the best way to learn about people is through their food.
Charlene is author of the bestselling book, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements (Beacon Press).
TOPICS: Activism, Millennials, LGBTQIA+, Politics