Mia Henry, Owner-Operator, Lead Guide (Alabama, Mississippi)
Mia Henry has 17 years of experience in nonprofit management, youth development, inter-generational community organizing, and civic and history education. She was born and raised in the American South, the daughter of a Civil Rights activist who desegregated her high school in Gadsden, Alabama in 1966. Mia grew up learning about Civil Rights history not only in school, but from her parents and extended family in Alabama.
Mia has led more than 20 history and political education tours for groups – young people and adults – domestically and abroad. In addition to operating Freedom Lifted, Mia is currently the Executive Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College.
Mia was the founding director of the Chicago Freedom School, a nonprofit organization that supports youth-led social change. She has also been a visiting lecturer in Educational Psychology for the Master’s program in Youth Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mia’s previous posts include working as the Director of Special Initiatives at Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACEs), the Associate Director of the Mikva Challenge, a Program Associate for Facing History and Ourselves, and a high school teacher and International Baccalaureate (IB) program coordinator for Chicago Public Schools.
Mia has served as a consultant to the Chicago History Museum, Chicago Public Schools, the Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Mia earned her B.S. from Rutgers University and her M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Freda Lin, Research Consultant, Lead Guide (Bay Area)
Freda is a long time advocate of social justice issues and has promoted awareness of this for 16 years as a history teacher in Chicago and San Francisco Bay area secondary schools. Sheinitiated new diversity programs and activities at the schools in which she worked bycollaborating with students, staff and the surrounding community. Her main goal was to always transform people’s perspectives on various issues they never knew about while affirming voices that are rarely heard.
As a result of her accomplishments at Lake Forest Academy, the school has a permanent administrative position dedicated to fostering cultural awareness. Further, Freda’s experiences of teaching for social change in Chicago Public Schools are featured in the Teaching for Social Justice series book, See You When We Get There.
Her quest for cultural and social awareness began as an undergraduate of Northwestern University, where she learned about Asian American history and perspectives never taught throughout all her years of schooling. This led to Freda leading a campus-wide and community supported movement for an Asian American Studies Program. Several years later, this program was established as a minor and continues to thrive today.
Freda earned her BA degree from Northwestern and her Masters degree from Brown University. She currently freelances as an Educational Consultant with the Center for Asian American Media and the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project, and is developing skills ingrantwriting, communications, and outreach. In her leisure time Freda enjoys exploring nature, and writes for her blog, StoryDigger, and her memoir.
Jayeesha Dutta, Lead Guide (New Orleans)
Jayeesha Dutta is a tri-coastal Bengali-American educator, cultural organizer and travel adventurer. Born in the deep south (Mobile, AL), raised back East (New York, NY), and aged out West (Oakland, CA), she has come full circle to plant roots in the Crescent City (New Orleans, LA). She is the co-founder of Mind Power Collective, a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to building creative community spaces and resources for educators, artists and change-makers.
Jayeesha has over 15 years experience working at the intersection of social justice, education and the arts with Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, KidSmART, Youth In Focus, the Alameda County Office of Education’s Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership and the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, now known as the National Equity Project. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Democratic Education in America and the National Coordinator of the International Democratic Education Conference 2013.
Jayeesha earned her B.S. in Labor Relations from Cornell University and conducted graduate studies in Equity and Social Justice in Education at San Francisco State University. From being a Thurgood Marshall Legal Intern in high school to most recently being selected for the inaugural class of Zilphia Horton Cultural Organizing Institute at the Highlander Research and Education Center, she feels blessed to be building interconnected networks of partnership, friendship and collaboration with movement makers across the globe.