We are so excited to introduce you to two new phenomenal women who have joined our small but mighty staff team at YDEKC! As we continue to shape our programming and policy work moving forward in service of our renewed mission, we are thrilled to have Na’Quel Walker join our program team, and Guneeta Chadha join our policy team. We hope you will have the chance to meet them soon! Here they introduce themselves in their own words so you can get to know them a bit.
My name is Na’Quel Walker (she/her), and I am the Program Coordinator for YDEKC. As a former educator I know what it is like to work in the Youth Development field and need support and resources to truly create a space for young people to not only learn but most importantly, to be socio-emotionally well. As someone who grew up in the foster care system, I know what it is like to be that struggling student dealing with several outside forces that negatively impact your academic success. I also know what it is like to have at least one person in your corner to help support you both academically and non-academically and how that can drastically alter a young person’s entire life.
In 2020 I received my Master’s in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education and in 2016 I graduated from the University of Washington where I studied both Political Science and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. I am grounded by the Black radical tradition and as an organizer, I believe everything that we do should be rooted in a love for the community. Getting more voices and seats at the table is important to me but so is re-imagining and working towards a world where we do not have to fight to get to the tables that work to exclude so many different people in the first place. I am excited to join YDEKC and look forward to working with youth-serving organizations to create more spaces and opportunities for youth and especially Black, Indigenous and youth of color to thrive and not simply survive.
Reach out to Na’Quel at nwalker[at]ydekc[dot]org!
My name is Guneeta Chadha (she/her) and I’m the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for YDEKC. I’m a first-generation college student, intersectional woman, and a child of incarcerated parents who’s passionate about ending mass incarceration and juvenile detention. I became interested in youth development because of my personal experience growing up as a child of incarcerated parents — I didn’t have access to resources that would have helped me succeed outside of school which made it exceedingly difficult to persevere academically and personally.
Despite facing these adversities growing up, I graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A in Sociology, Human Rights, and Public Policy while simultaneously getting a certificate from Columbia Law School in Critical Race Theory through Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s summer program. I’ll also be returning to UW in Fall 2021 for my MPA at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. I’m grateful for my role because I can help make change systemically and advocate for Black, Indigenous, and youth of color. I think it’s important to elevate the voices of our young people and make sure they’re apart of the decision-making process for policy proposals and solutions that focus on uplifting their communities and dismantling oppressive systems and systemic racism. I’m excited to work with YDEKC and meet with people so I can hear their stories, passions, and advocate for change. As Assata Shakur says: “Part of being a revolutionary is creating a vision that is more humane. That is more fun, too. That is more loving. It’s really working to create something beautiful.”
Reach out to Guneeta at gchadha[at]ydekc[dot]org!