Mariame Kaba

Download audio | March 29, 2017

Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator and curator. Her work focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison industrial complex, transformative justice and supporting youth leadership development. After over 20 years of living and organizing in Chicago, she recently moved back to her hometown of New York City.

She is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a vision to end youth incarceration. She has co-founded multiple organizations and projects over the years including the Chicago Freedom School, the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women, the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander and the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT) among others. She has also served on numerous nonprofit boards.

She has extensive experience working on issues of racial justice, gender justice, transformative/restorative justice and multiple forms of violence. She has been active in the anti-violence against women and girls movement since 1989. Her experience includes coordinating emergency shelter services at Sanctuary for Families in New York City, serving as the co-chair of the Women of Color Committee at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, working as the prevention and education manager at Friends of Battered Women and their Children (now called Between Friends), serving on the founding advisory board of the Women and Girls Collective Action Network (WGCAN), and being a member of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence.  She currently organizes with the Survived and Punished collective.

She was a member and co-founder of We Charge Genocide, an inter-generational effort which documented police brutality and violence in Chicago and sent youth organizers to Geneva, Switzerland to present their report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. She is an advisory board member of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, a group (along with Project NIA and WCG) that worked to get the Chicago City Council to pass a reparations law providing restitution to the victims of Jon Burge, a police commander who tortured more than 200 criminal suspects, most of them black men, from the 1970s through the early 1990s.

She is currently a founding advisory board member of the Chicago Community Bond Fund. The CCBF pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County, Illinois. Through a revolving fund, CCBF supports individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence.


Follow Mariame Kaba: | @PrisonCulture |

Rhymes: Johnny Cash, "Folsom Prison Blues," Public Enemy, "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," Prince, "Purple Rain" and Queen Latifah ft. Monie Love, "Ladies First"

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