ABOUT US

Our Mission
Founded in 2014, Young Leaders, Strong City's
(YLSC) mission is to equip a network of students,
educators, and adult allies with tools to analyze,
advocate, and dismantle systemic racism in
themselves, their schools, and communities.
 
Who We Are

 

Young Leaders, Strong City is the student-centered arm of local nonprofit organization The Imagining Freedom Institute (IF). The IF Institute focuses on dismantling institutional and structural racism, providing a historical analysis of inequitable policies and practices, addressing intersectionality in issues and solutions, and envisioning a more equitable society.

 

What We Do

 

As a youth-centered extension of The IF Institute, we offer unique community programming year-round and annually as well as partner with local school districts, higher education institutions, and other nonprofits. We host learning labs, district-specific summits, student councils, and an annual summit. YLSC also works with educators and administrators to create systemic change on campuses and in communities. Visit our District Summit page to learn more.


All YLSC community programming is free for students and available as funding allows. Become a Patron and help us meet the increasing demand from our students for ongoing programming and expand to more young leaders in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Meet the Young Leaders, Strong City Team

AMBER SIMS

Amber is a founding member of The Imagining Freedom Institute, (The IF Institute), a thought leadership institute that works with organizations and institutions to build their capacity for internal and external equity and social justice work using historical analysis and equity frameworks. 

 

Amber has worked in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors providing leadership

in communications, equity, community partnership, and authentic relationship cultivation and development. Amber is a trusted voice for racial equity and community change. Her methods of change center on the power of proximate leadership, historical context, layered with modern-day impact, as well as individual reflection and acknowledgment in tandem with and collective people power.

 

Amber has been published in the Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, and Texas Monthly as an opinion columnist on issues such as closing education gaps, and an equitable Dallas for all. Amber also was featured in the Texas Rangers Magazine as an ongoing contributor. Amber is currently working on a publication chronicling the history of Black schools in Dallas in collaboration with the national nonprofit journalism entity, Press On, and local newspaper Dallas Free Press. 

ROBBIE ESTEBAN

Robbie is a co-founder of Young Leaders, Strong City (YLSC), and principal at The Imagining Freedom Institute (The IF Institute). Robbie currently serves with Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), a national organization that supports educators in civic engagement, community, organizing, and pursuing elected leadership.  Through her role at LEE, she shapes the messaging and digital strategy for electoral candidates across the country. As part of this process, Robbie also helps current and future elected representatives frame and reframe their policy priorities through a racial equity lens.

The mother of Bella and Bryian, Robbie spent four years in a Montessori classroom before spending another four years helping rebuild and rebrand a 55-year old adult literacy organization, Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT). Through her role at LIFT, Robbie co-led a winning partnership with Southern Methodist University for an adult literacy global XPrize.

 

Robbie is a YoungPeopleFor alum, Phi Theta Kappa alum, a current OpEd Project Fellow, and holds degrees in both History and Philosophy from the University of North Texas as well as a Graduate Marketing Certificate from Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business.

CAAZENA HUNTER 

Caazena is a racial equity coach, educator, and researcher. Caazena holds a dual B.A. in Spanish and Sociology, with an International Studies Certificate, from the University of Tulsa, and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of North Texas. She also co-authored "Race and Reciprocity: Inter-household Exchanges in a Multiracial Neighborhood".


Caazena began her career as a teaching fellow at the University of North Texas, which led to her teaching Sociology at colleges and universities throughout the DFW Metroplex. She has a passion for learning, as well as teaching. Caazena only works with organizations that speak to personally held passions. 

Currently, Caazena works as a Racial Equity Coach, a role that has afforded her the opportunity to superimpose the racial equity lens on everything about an organization. She also works as a Client Success Manager for the Financial Clinic to assist organizations that are focused on financial security and mobility of individuals that are working and experiencing poverty.  

 

Caazena is a lover of art, music, and fun. She has spent her days and nights reigniting her love for drawing, and painting. She has always considered herself an aunt extraordinaire and most recently has a new canine niece named FREE.

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