Zakiyah Ansari

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Zakiyah Ansari

Template:TOCnestleft Zakiyah Ansari is an outspoken advocate for public schools and the loudest voice on education on Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s transition team.

Ansari is the advocacy director at the New York State Alliance for Quality Education, a non-profit.

She first appeared on the public radar in 2007 as a parent leader for Coalition for Educational Justice.

Ansari, a mother of eight, criticized the creation of charter schools, saying it set parents against each other. All her children have graduated or are studying at New York City’s public schools.[1]

Zakiyah Ansari resides in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. She was an active parent volunteer in her children’s PTAs and is a founding parent leader with CEJ.

Ansari has been invited to speak before parents, educators, elected officials, and administrators about the importance of organizing parents and communities in schools. She is one of the parent voices in the film, Parent Power, produced by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform.

Ansari is one of the co-initiators on a recently formed national grassroots movement, Journey for Justice, an emerging alliance currently composed of grassroots community-based organizations from 18 cities across the United States representing constituencies of youth, parents, and inter-generational organizations who have been impacted by the closing, turnaround, and charter expansion of schools in communities of color.

Ansari was most recently interviewed in an article in the February 2013 edition of American Prospect, “Pushing Arne Duncan Fast Forward.” She also appeared in January 2013 on MSNBC’s weekly national program, Melissa Harris-Perry, and was a panelist on the City & State and Schoolbook panel, “On Education,” in November 2012.[2]

de Blasio transition team

In November 2013, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of his 60-member transition committee, and it includes 10 individuals with experience in education and children's issues.

The group includes parent leader Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director of the Alliance for Quality Education. Ansari was a frequent gadfly throughout Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure on issues of school choice, charter schools and parent engagement, among others. The Brooklyn mother has eight children, all of whom either attend or graduated from public schools. She's also been a vocal advocate for additional state educational aid and for early childhood education, a central theme of de Blasio's campaign.[3]



"WE’RE NOT GOING BACK! Annual celebration of African American culture and struggle".

The defeat of Trump’s coup must be celebrated. The forces of reaction tried by legal maneuvering and brute force to steal the US presidency, but were unsuccessful. For the second time since 1980, the extreme right-wing of the monopoly capitalist class has lost its control of the US political landscape. We are at a turning point on the road to freedom. The movement to defend and expand democracy has made powerful steps and must continue pushing forward.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Gerald Horne

Panelists will include: Rossana Cambron, Communist Party USA*, Hon. Robert Jackson, New York State Senate*, Tamika Mallory, Until Freedom*, Rev. West McNeill, NYS Poor People's Campaign* / NYS Labor-Religion Coalition*

Performers will include: Emi Augustine, Game Rebellion*, Len Xiang, independent artist

Chaired by Susan DiRaimo, PSC-CUNY* & Christian Parra, Citizen Action NY*

The Host Committee (partial list) Zakiyah Ansari, Michael Arney, Kazembe Balagun, Kazu Bernstein, Bianca Cunningham, Bernard Cylich, Susan DiRaimo, Ava Farkas, Pat Fry, Diana Harris, Joel Hertzog, Nova Lucero, Beatrice Lumpkin, Ana Melendez, Marina Metalios, Dr. Gerald Meyer, Charles Mohan, Radhames Morales, Dr. Mark Naison, Estevan Nembhard, Cameron Orr, Cheryl Pahaham, Dr. Mary Louise Patterson, Ibrahim Pedrinan, Carmen Quinones, Carol Ramos, Hon. Carmen De La Rosa, August Scott, Michael Shulman, Joe Sims, Toni Smith, Dominick Tuminaro, Jarvis Tyner, Janice Walcott, Jason Walker, Jorel Ware, Matthew Weinstein, Jawanza Williams.[4]

Talking to People's World

Zakiyah Ansari was interviewed in the Communist Party USA's People's World Aug. 15, 2013, by Estevan Nembhard on the subject of "Stop and Frisk".

Zakiyah Ansari, a Brooklyn mother of eight in the borough's Brownsville section worries for her soon-to-be-a-teenager son, because he is tall. Because of the boy's height, people think he is older than he actually is, she explains. "I think about the humiliation these young men go through, being stopped and frisked, and ask myself, 'When will it be my son's first time?'"
Ansari, a leader in New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, says she wonders "when we will get to a point where parents don't have to be afraid."
"We need a mayor who doesn't have the attitude that if you get some of them (the criminals with this policy) then it's worth it. Easy to say when it's not your child," declared Ansari.[5]

Working with de Blasio

Ansari has a close relationship with New York Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio

Bill DeBlasio, President of the United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew, and Advocacy Director at the Alliance for Quality Education Zakiyah Ansari announcing a proposal for how the next mayor should address schools testing, New York, June 13, 2013

DeBlasio said he will make sure charter schools won’t get preferential treatment. He plans to charge the wealthy charters rent for spaces in public school buildings.

Ansari put forward recommendations to increase funding for full-day pre-kindergarten, testifying before Governor Cuomo’s New York Education Reform Commission in July 2012.

de Blasio latter adopted full-day pre-K as a key campaign component.

Further, Ansari recommended supporting low-performing schools, instead of closing them–an idea also adopted by de Blasio.

Finally, Ansari also put forward the idea of “real and meaningful” collaboration between the administration and parents, students, and educators–the perceived lack of which draw sustained criticism to the education departments of both the state and the city of New York.[6]

2013 Better World Awards banquet

The Friends of the People's World hosted its yearly fundraiser Dec. 8, 2013, the Better World Awards.

This year was an exceptional one; the Friends of the People's World hosted the event for an overflow audience at the Henry Winston Auditorium. Our Honorees were exceptional ­­-- as they always are -- but being a participant at Sunday's event was truly special, special because one could envision a world without racism.
The diversity of the participants, black, brown and white of various ages, was absolutely wonderful; not only did it show the power of the movement that is changing the politics and economics of America but it showed too the idea that socialism is on the minds of many ordinary citizens.

Estevan Bassett-Nembhard, New York City organizer for the CPUSA, opened the event with the message, "Let it be said that, in the 2013 elections, voters in the five boroughs put the 1 percent on notice. Reaching consensus on jobs not jails, schools not corporate tax breaks. The voters of the city voted to move our city in a new direction." The audience broke out into chants of "Yes we can."

Joelle Fishman, host of the event and chair of CPUSA's Political Action Commission, introduced the honorees. "I am very honored and excited to be here today at the Better World Awards to share your celebration of the great election victory in New York that has captured the attention of the entire country," said Fishman. "This election is a victory over racism. It is a victory over stop and frisk. It is a victory over 20 years of direct Wall St. rule. But it is only a beginning. To realize the possibilities, everyone here has an important part to play going forward."

She then proceed to introduce and deliver the awards to Raglan George, Zakiyah Ansari and Lethy Liriano and the lifetime achievement award to Vinie Burrows and Ellen Perlo.

From humble beginnings to advocacy director with the New York State Alliance for Quality Education, to member of the new mayor of New York City, Bill DeBlasio's transition team. Zakiyah Ansari, BWA honoree, told an extraordinary story of awareness and accomplishment.

Zakiyah was one of two New York City Coalition for Educational Justice parent leaders appointed to the City Council Task Force on Middle Schools. The Task Force led to recommendations adopted by the NYC Department of Education and the Campaign for Middle School Success. As a result, more than $30 million has gone to some of the lowest-performing middle grade schools to support school improvement efforts.[7]