Meet Our Board


Anne Harris


After retiring from a career in telecommunications, Ms. Harris wanted to become involved “with something that made sense." Fast-forward more than twenty years later and her activism still has her working to bring sensible solutions to what ails our communities. Anne has shown a passion for fighting injustice and did not want to be a person that complained while doing nothing about inequality. She is hopeful that her work in educating on social justice issues will encourage more people in her home community of Englewood to get involved in the work that needs to be done.  “Keep pushing” is her motto, and she has made it her personal mission that Action Now Institute is at the forefront of the push for sustainable change in Chicago’s underprivileged communities.














Consuella Brown


Consuella has been involved with Action Now Institute since its inception.  Her decades-long career in philanthropy and economic justice activism makes her an integral part of the organization. A particular source of pride for Consuella is the black-lead “brilliant leadership” at the foundation of the org's work, noting that black and brown people need to have ownership of the direction of resources in their communities. She considers herself fortunate to be associated with “such phenomenal people” engaged in educating and training people to advocate for an end to inequality. Originally from Los Angeles, Consuella lives on the South Side in the Hyde Park community.













Jacqueline Pruitt


Ms. Pruitt became involved with Action Now Institute through her desire to work as a teacher. With a background in leadership and management as a former executive of a social services organization on the West Side of Chicago, she made the transition to a teaching career because of her strong belief in education being the key to the future for the youth of her community. Action Now Institute’s 'Grow Your Own Teacher’ program is of great importance to Jackee, as it combines her passion for instruction with her desire to bridge low-income people of color into positions of education and influence in underserved communities. Jackee lives in Austin on the West Side.









Jerry McDowell

Board Member

As a resident of Chicago for almost fifty years and currently residing in the Austin neighborhood, Ms. McDowell has seen her fair share of the good and the bad that the city has to offer. With an eye towards “making a difference," she became involved with the work of Action Now Institute at the encouragement of her sister, who was already aware of the good work that the org was doing in her neighborhood. Jerry believes the org’s mission of educating and training the community are the keys to achieving justice for those that have lacked it for so long. 








Lez E. Trujillo

Board Member

Lez has spent over fifteen years addressing social and economic justice issues ranging from affordable housing, home-ownership in low-income communities, consumer financial protection, and quality public education. Lez currently lives in Chicago.




Desmon Yancy

Board Member

Hailing from the city’s Calumet Heights neighborhood, Mr. Yancy has been involved with Action Now Institute since 2008. He joined because the work of the organization is vital to the survival of communities, and “we must engage people where they are” in order to reverse the conditions that have lead to many people being marginalized. Desmon believes that gaining more control over the public education system is a must, as the current system no longer meets the interests and the standards of the people most in need. These days Desmon calls South Holland, IL his home.







Katelyn Johnson

Executive Director

Katelyn grew up in a small, rural town in western Pennsylvania, and her humble roots drive her to fight for people who have historically been marginalized. She began her community work shortly after graduating from North Park University in 2004, as the primary organizer in the successful fight to save nearly 1000 units of affordable housing on the west side of Chicago. Following her success, she worked to help educate minority and faith-based communities on organ and tissue donation with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education in Pittsburgh, crafting the inaugural "Communities for Life" program. In 2009, she came back to her organizing roots in Chicago as the Grow Your Own Teachers (GYO) Cohort Coordinator and Education Director for Action Now.  Katelyn was named Executive Director of Action Now Institute in 2010 and now leads African-American leaders toward taking public stances on issues that concern their communities. When she isn’t engaged in the fight for racial justice, she is off somewhere being a Sci-Fi fanatic, collecting Doctor Who and Star Wars memorabilia.





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