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Meet Our Staff

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Collique Williams
Executive Director

Collique Williams (He/Him), a seasoned community organizer in Boston, has returned to The City School as Executive Director. With previous experience at Community Labor United, he advocated for accessible and equitable public transit. Beginning his activism journey in 2001 at the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project (BYOP), Collique has a strong foundation in mobilizing youth for social change. His tenure at the BYOP equipped him with valuable skills in community organizing and youth empowerment. As Executive Director, Collique aims to deepen youth engagement at The City School, recognizing their potential as current and future leaders. He is dedicated to fostering meaningful transformations in social, labor, and political spheres through youth-led initiatives. Collique brings a wealth of experience and passion to his role, driving The City School's mission forward.

 

What's your favorite memory of The City School?

My favorite memory at The City School is my first experience teaching in the Summer Leadership Program (SLP). Despite my previous experience as a facilitator, stepping into the role of a teacher for the summer was a humbling experience. I quickly realized that I was unprepared for the sheer brilliance of the youth in my class. Throughout that summer, we learned and grew together, and it reaffirmed my passion for being an organizer and my deep connection with young people. It was a transformative experience that highlighted the invaluable wisdom and insight that youth bring to the table.

 

What's something that inspires you and helps you sustain hope?

Comedy and creativity are essential for me to maintain hope. They have this remarkable ability to take any subject, no matter how serious or absurd, and flip our perceptions upside down. Sometimes, it's not a stirring speech that makes people stop and think, but rather a joke that shines a light on the absurdity of a situation. The power of humor lies in its capacity to challenge our preconceptions and make us reconsider what we thought we knew. It's a reminder that even in the darkest moments, there's always room for laughter and a fresh perspective.

 

A TV show, song, book and/or poem that you’d recommend?

If I were to recommend a book, it would definitely be "Iqbal". I was given this book as a gift by a young person in the Pathways to Change program during a holiday exchange. It's one of those rare stories that brought me to tears by the end, and it has become a favorite of mine. Whenever I can, I pass on copies to young people because it captures the essence of why we're involved in change-making work, reminding us of the often overlooked motivations behind our actions. It's a powerful reminder that equity is something everyone deserves.

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Shanick Chacon
Operations Manager

Shanick (she/hers) grew up in Roxbury and is Afro-Latina. She graduated from Lesley University with a bachelor’s in Global studies. She also minored in Africana Studies, Sociology, and Psychology. She found her passion for social justice work in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin. Since then, she has been eager to contribute to social justice and bring awareness to the many social problems that plague our society. Shanick first began working with TCS two years ago as an intern; learning about the ins and outs of community organizing. Then, Shanick worked as a Lead Facilitator during SLP 2021. These two experiences  alowed her to learn and fall more in love with community work.
 

What's something that inspires you and helps you sustain hope?

Community!! One of my favorite sayings is “it takes a village,” because it truly does! How can you not feel hopeful when you have people who are willing to support you in any way that they can? Witnessing my village and other villages that operate in love and mindfulness is always an inspiring sight. 

If you could have coffee with one revolutionary, who would it be and why?

I would love to have coffee with the late bell hooks. I would LOVE to discuss how she believed self-love and wholeness are forms of resistance against white supremacy. Her analysis and strong advocacy for love, in its many forms, have always resonated with me. 

What’s a surprising or interesting fact about you?

I am not sure if this is a very interesting fact, but I LOVE Oreos. Oreos are not just milk’s favorite cookies, but mine. A top-tier cookie in my opinion. 

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Tara Venkatraman
Director of Programs and Strategy

Tara Deviki Venkatraman (she/hers) is the Director of Programs and Strategy at The City School and a youth worker, organizer, political educator and therapist. Tara has been rooted in Boston-area racial justice youth organizing for over a decade. From 2011-2017, Tara served as a youth worker and Program Director at The City School, where she co-directed the Summer Leadership Program and Pathways to Change. During that time, Tara also organized with Youth Justice and Power Union in their campaign to decrease funding for police to increase funding for youth jobs in Boston. 

 

As a Licensed Clinical social worker, Tara is also committed to building out mental health and transformative justice practices within communities of color and organizing spaces. She has a therapy practice focused on young people and young adults of color. Tara also loves reading, writing, astrology, teaching people to drive, baking, watching basketball and all things superhero (including grassroots organizing groups!)

What are a few of the issues you're passionate about and why?

I am passionate about abolition and transformative justice, and the current work TCS is doing to fight for non-police, community-based models of collective care.

What is a favorite book or TV show?

So many! A few favorite shows are: Schitts Creek, She-Ra and We Are Lady Parts. Too many favorite books to count, but some that I return to are: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, An Unncessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine, and Last Days by Tamiko Beyer.

What is a surprising or interesting fact about you?

People are often surprised that I am a huge Celtics fan!

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Patricha Paul
Director of Finance

Patricha Paul (she/hers) is a sharp, driven professional with more than 14 years of proven experience in banking, accounting and business operations, and a specialized ability to design tools for greater efficiency and profitability. She has earned a reputation as a perceptive and practical troubleshooter with a unique ability to solve large-scale problems often deemed too challenging for others. Patricha was formerly TCS's Accounting Specialist and currently serves as the Director of Finance.


What's something that inspires you and helps you sustain hope? My Faith & Spirituality 

What's a surprising or interesting fact about you?
I was a cheerleader in high school.

What are a few of the issues that you're most passionate about and why?
Human rights, government oppression and economic equality.

Favorite TV Show/Movie:
Transformers!

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Husain Rizvi
Director of Pathways to Change Program

Husain Rizvi (they/them) is the Pathways to Change Program Director and is an SLP 2017 grad. They have been staffed for SJLI 2019, SVP 2020, and SJLI 2022. They co-directed SLP with Ziquelle Smalls in 2023. In 2021, they ran a summer program called Games for Justice, where young people designed games about social justice issues they cared about, engaged in identity development, and learned about design principles in the context of justice.

 

What's your favorite memory of The City School?

My favorite memory would probably be at SLP 2023 during the youth-led workshops or our April 27th testimony event for the mental health crisis response. Both of these memories were moments when I could see youth step into their power and leadership, which was transformative for me to see.

 

What's something that inspires you and helps you sustain hope?

I think youth work is something I always come back to and something that inspires me because it's so dynamic and participatory. You have to use your whole self to be a youth worker, and you transform so much through the process of learning and taking action alongside young people. As I continue in my journey as a youth worker, I am excited to learn how to design more democratic and participatory structures for political education and organizing.
 

A TV show, song, book and/or poem that you’d recommend?

Lately, I have been really obsessed with AR Rahman's 90s/early 2000s work!

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Cynthia Pages
Director of Youth Leadership Programs

Cynthia Pages,they/them, is a thoughtful, intuitive, and brilliant sibling, Bostonian, youth worker, and doggie parent. Cynthia's family describes them as vibrant, eccentric, sensitive, and gentle. They believe this means they are courageous, adventurous, emotionally adept, and deeply loving. 

 

Cynthia loves to express themselves through words, song, dance, fashion, and food. Their cultures (Salvi-Cuban) and city (Boston) are important pillars of who they are. They've grown up and raised themselves around these pillars which continue to teach them about how to work and live in harmony with the land and their people. 

 

Cynthia has learned to strengthen their curiosity and become a powerful force of change. To them, youth programs not only developed their sense of self, youth programs gave them safer spaces to get to know other people. Cynthia learned about care, safety, expression, communication, and borderless liberation. All which guide them in being a safe and accountable community member. 

 

If there's one way they could describe themselves, it would be: attuned. Believe them when they say, this summer’s gonna be one for the books! 

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