Jacqueline Pickens is a Juvenile Justice Re-Engagement Specialist at Chicago Public Schools.

“Participating in Surge will give me the space to learn from other leaders of color in Chicago. Many times, I doubt my ability to communicate my vision and don’t follow through because I find it difficult to articulate my ideas. I often hold back because I have a fear of failure and of not being good enough. I feel like I am finally in a place where I am not afraid to be challenged, to be vulnerable, or fail. I am hopeful that participating in Surge will allow me to work on communication and sharpen my skills. Overall, I want to be in spaces where the ideas of African-American and Latinx people are honored, and where we are encouraged to flourish.”