co-founder & executive director
Niketa Brar is a policy strategist and civic systems organizer working to grow the community-led policymaking movement in Chicago. In her role as co-founder and executive director of Chicago United for Equity, she works to transform civic systems to be designed by the communities they serve. She organized Chicago's first public Racial Equity Impact Assessment, a community process that set national precedent for stopping a school closure on the grounds of racial discrimination, designed the Vote Equity Project, an award-winning citywide voter guide built by thousands of residents, and co-created the People's Budget Chicago, a popular education model and community budgeting process.
Niketa comes to this work from a career working to bring a community-centered approach to government. She is grounded in this work from her experience observing the harm caused by top-down and ineffective public policy while she worked on legal defense teams for indigent clients, and as a middle school math teacher and dean. These experiences propel her desire for government reform, which she took on as a consultant and policy adviser to elected leaders in roles ranging from school board to municipal and state government. She left government to co-found CUE with Elisabeth Greer, as they worked to organize parents, students, and a larger citywide coalition to fight the Chicago Public School proposal to close National Teachers Academy.
Niketa has been recognized for her work through the 2020 Trailblazer Award from Reform for Illinois, the inaugural Bonnie Allen Civil Rights Visionary Award from Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and the 2022 Changemaker Grant from the Center for Racial Justice at the University of Michigan.