Stephanie is an accomplished speaker, a published theorist and opinion-haver, and a deeply passionate activist on a variety of topics. This résumé showcases highlights in her activist work in Champaign-Urbana and Chicago, her organizational experience, and her education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her full activist and academic CV is available upon request!
Stephanie has been a passionate trans activist and organizer since she came out as a trans woman and a lesbian in the Fall of 2011. Through founding organizations, speaking at conferences around the country, and creating dialogues with countless other organizations, Stephanie's commitment to trans justice and liberation has been her life's work since she came out. One of her most important contributions was serving on the Advisory Committee for the 2015 US Trans Survey, through the National Center for Transgender Equality. Stephanie is a founding co-organizer of the Trans Liberation Collective in Chicago.
Stephanie has been deeply involved in the movement for justice in Palestine since 2013, when she became involved in a leadership position in a movement to get justice for a fired Palestinian-American professor at her University. Since then, she has been an outspoken Jewish voice for Palestinian rights and humanity, speaking at rallies, hosting panels and events, and forcing conversations about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli military. She has fervently sought to break down the stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs being homophobic, and of queer and trans spaces being Islamophobic, all while forcing discussions in Jewish spaces about silence on racism, Islamophobia, and complicity in genocide. Stephanie is on the Coordinating Committee for Jewish Voice for Peace - Chicago, founded JVP's first queer and trans working group, and is a prominent part of many JVP campaigns in Chicago and beyond. A growing Jewish name in Palestinian solidarity activism, Stephanie hopes to leverage her voice to bring more people to the cause of justice in Palestine.
Coming from a working class family in middle class denial, Stephanie has always thought critically about issues of class and economic justice. She realized this with a long-standing commitment to the labor movement, which played out mostly on her University campus. Beginning in 2012, Stephanie stood in active solidarity with striking SEIU maintenance workers, then took her solidarity to the next level by forming active commitments in 2013 with two local AFSCME chapters, the University's graduate student union, GEO, and UIUC's non-tenure track faculty union, called NTFC, which organized in 2013. From 2013 to 2016 she attended nearly every AFSCME and NTFC event on campus, serving as a volunteer organizer for both organizations, speaking at multiple rallies and demonstrations, and taking an active role in organizing and recruiting with the GEO, leading to her becoming recognized as an honorary member, and often mistaken for a graduate student! The high points in her labor activism both came in 2016, when Stephanie was the Undergraduate Coordinator for an NTFC strike that lasted a total of five days over two weeks. The massive support she organized from undergraduates played a key role in forcing the administration to keep coming to the table with the NTFC, and rebuffing administrators' attempts to turn the students against their striking faculty. Shortly following this, Stephanie spoke at a statewide AFSCME rally in protest of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, where she addressed over 14,000 people in the state's capital. Stephanie dreams of a time when the labor and queer and trans movements deepen their mutual commitment to justice and revolution, and would love to be a part of making that day come about.
Brave Space Alliance
Director of Policy & Operations | August 2017 - Present
Stephanie is currently the Director of Policy and Operations for Brave Space Alliance, the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Community Center on the South Side of Chicago. While Brave Space is still small, it is mighty and growing quickly, and is already a force for change and good in the Chicago LGBTQ community. Stephanie is excited to see Brave Space grow, and hopes to grow right alongside the center for many years to come.
Jewish Voice for Peace
Chicago & Champaign-Urbana Chapters
Chapter Leader & Coordinating Committee for Chicago
March 2017 - Present
Stephanie embodies her Jewish spiritual and activist practice through her work with Jewish Voice for Peace - Chicago, and is proud to be a prominent face within Chicago's leading Jewish group for Palestinian justice and solidarity. Her work with JVP has taken her to lead roles in the Network Against Islamophobia, which pushes local Jewish community organizations to stop giving money to groups classified as anti-Muslim hate organizations, and a leading voice against pinkwashing in the region. Stephanie was a prominent figure in the controversy surrounding the Chicago Dyke March's ejection of disruptive Zionists during the 2017 Dyke March, and she worked closely with Dyke March organizers to defend Dyke March, ensure a strong anti-Zionist coalition came together to defend those who were being threatened by outside forces, and take a clear and powerful stand on the rights of queer and trans Palestinians to hold and demand spaces for themselves where they can be free from Zionist violence or symbols that invoke the Israeli State. In late 2017, Stephanie founded the first queer and trans working group in JVP, called QTJVP in Chicago.
Trans Liberation Collective
Founding Core Organizer | March 2017 - Present
Stephanie helped found the only trans organization in Chicago open to any and all trans people, as well as cis accomplices; the Trans Liberation Collective, out of the Trans Liberation Protest that occurred on March 3rd, 2017. The Collective has since become a leading voice in Chicago queer and trans activism, executing a 20-minute shutdown of the Chicago Pride Parade in 2017 to protest Pride's historical exclusion of trans people of color, its racism, classism, Zionism, and transphobia. She has been actively involved in multiple campaigns for trans justice and larger issues connected to the trans community since the Collective's founding.
The Uniting Pride (UP) Center of Champaign County
President of the Board | April 2016 - January 2017
Stephanie was elected President of the Board of the community LGBTQ+ center of Champaign County in early 2016, and tasked with leading the Center back towards a stable organizational and financial situation, as well as nurturing new community organizational connections, and developing a justice component for the Center. She managed an expansion of fundraising, a change in the Center's location, and a fledgling organizing group within the Center. Stephanie left the Board in January of 2017 when she moved to Chicago.
Core Organizer | August 2014 - May 2016
Stephanie was one of the founding seven students who launched a protest movement in response to the University of Illinois firing Professor Steven Salaita for his passionate political tweets about the Israeli massacres in Gaza during the summer of 2014. This combined student and faculty movement launched a national response and created invaluable conversations about the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, academic freedom, and the role of Universities in regulating the speech of professors. Although the movement was unsuccessful in pressuring the University to rehire Professor Salaita, it did result in the removal of many upper administrators implicated in the firing, and created a solid coalition for other ongoing Palestinian justice organizations on campus. Stephanie's leading role in this movement translated directly into her ongoing involvement with Students for Justice in Palestine, and launched her personal devotion to justice for all Palestinians.
Campus Union for Trans Equality and Support (CUTES)
President & Co-Founder | February 2013 - May 2016
In her first major foray into social justice, Stephanie co-founded the first and only trans-focused organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as its President for most of the organization's first three years. As one of only a handful of out trans women on the UIUC campus, Stephanie's presence and work was integral to the campus's evolution from a place that had sparse resources for trans-identified individuals, to a campus whose policies are now broadly trans-inclusive. In just three short years, Stephanie helped implement trans-inclusive healthcare for undergraduates, all-gender housing, a preferred name system, a large expansion of all-gender bathrooms, a gender-neutral intramural sports system, and other important victories. In 2016, CUTES was widely held as one of the centers for queer and trans student activism at UIUC. Stephanie's work with CUTES led her to take additional leadership roles in queer organizations, assuming political roles in the University's Pride group, and serving as the first trans woman President of the queer women's group. Stephanie left the organization's leadership upon her graduation, having won multiple awards for her activism, including LGBT Organization of the Year twice, leaving behind a massive cross-identity, multi-movement coalition for the organization, consisting of the leading queer, Muslim, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Labor organizations on the campus, and trained multiple mentees, ensuring a solid future for the organization.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fall 2011 - Spring 2016 | B.A. Gender & Women's Studies
Stephanie graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May of 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, including majors in Gender and Women's Studies (where she graduated with distinction), and Political Science, and minors in LGBT/Q Studies and Sociology. She was the first person in the history of the University to complete both the Gender and Women's Studies major and the LGBT/Q Studies minor. Stephanie's academic writing is concentrated in the field of transgender studies, and informed by queer theory, critical ethnic studies, and indigenous studies. Her writing focuses on genderqueer identity and life experience, transgender death, necropolitics, and the state control of life and death narratives. Other writing includes papers on transgender language politics, lesbian identity politics and history, and critical analyses of policy and survey documents that discuss trans identities.