Dr. Janiece MackeyFounder of Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) Denver, CO Award Year: 2021
Dr. Janiece Mackey has built a career of servant leadership focused on engaging youth of color in activism and civic engagement. She created Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA), a nonprofit that builds the self-efficacy of youth to reclaim academic, civic and career spaces through race-conscious leadership and transformative organizing. YAASPA offers varying access points for youth to engage in civic education through classes, paid internships, youth councils, summer programming and more. Dr. Janiece Mackey believes that those who commit to transformational justice and racial equity must validate and innovate academic and career experiences that sustain, retain and rejuvenate youth and young professionals who identify as Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). She earned her PhD in Higher Education with a Public Policy and Curriculum and Instruction emphasis at the University of Denver.
Janiece used her award to increase and deepen YAASPA’s impact with youth across three districts. This included creating Y Incubator, a credentialing and work-based fellowship for Black and Brown youth desiring to enter the fields of education, law, and public health – an economic model that connects youth to their desired career path and increases their academic, career, and civic efficacy; and publishing op-eds by youth and paying them for their work.
Janiece was joined by a coalition of organizations for a press conference, where she discussed the importance of the Denver Public School budget addressing student inequities. She was also honored by Nonprofit HR as their 2021 Nonprofit Women to Watch.