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Layla Hannah Treuhaft-Ali (She, Her, Hers)

Layla Hannah Treuhaft-Ali (She, Her, Hers)

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Empowerment and inclusion are goals that Layla Treuhaft-Ali strives to create for all.

Layla is a Chicago Public School (CPS) teacher in Englewood where she teaches literature and social studies to middle school students. When Layla saw that she could develop a love of reading in even the most hesitant student by finding books that were personally relevant, she launched a GoFundMe campaign to build a diverse classroom library where students could see themselves and their interests.

In addition, Layla is an advocate for socially sound practices in the classroom and speaks out against methodologies that perpetuate inequities based on race and social class, serving as a mentor to other teachers. Layla is deeply involved in her synagogue, KAM Isaiah Israel, where she recently joined the board of directors and sits in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, chairs their Food Justice and Sustainability program and is also a religious school instructor. In her professional life and her work life, Layla works hard to make change in the world. 

AGE:
25

PRIMARY GIG:
CPS 6th grade teacher

ON THE SIDE:
Judaics teacher at KAM Isaiah Israel Shoresh

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 10 WORDS OR LESS:
Egyptian and Jewish, I empower children, fight racism, read books.

CELEBRITY DOPPELGANGER:
My students said Kim Kardashian?!? Is that a compliment?

A JEW WHO INSPIRES YOU:
Tamar Menasseh, founder of Mothers Against Senseless Killing here in Chicago. The organization interrupts violence by holding cookouts in Englewood and other neighborhoods. They also connect families to study buddies, city services, and other resources. I heard her speak at a synagogue once, and found the ways she connects Judaism to her social justice work incredibly meaningful.

YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE:
I often tell my students: "Your feelings are like stinky trash in the corner of the room. You might not want to touch it, so you can try to mask the smell or stay far away from it, but the smell will always be there. The only way you can stop smelling the stinky trash is to clean it up - but to do that you'll have to get close to it, see it, touch it, smell it. But when you're done, you won't smell it all the time." I need this advice too sometimes!

WHAT IS YOUR NEWFOUND PANDEMIC TALENT OR HOBBY:
I started Olympic weightlifting during the pandemic! I love it.

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