Layla Hannah Treuhaft-Ali
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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.
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
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.
My students said Kim Kardashian?!? Is that a
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:
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!