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Biography

Shanequa Levin is an award-winning social justice leader, motivational speaker, and author who believes it is important to step up and advocate for those who need one's strength and voice. In 2021, Shanequa was listed as City and State’s Top 100 Most Powerful People on Long Island. She is also a registered ordained wedding officiant. Shanequa chartered the Long Island chapter of Mocha Moms, a support group for mothers of color, and served as chapter president, regional director, and the National Parent Nation Coordinator for Mocha Moms Inc. She is the former director of Every Child Matters in NY, an advocacy and electoral engagement organization on behalf of kids. She served as a Community Advisor for the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, a Co-Chair for the Long Island Million Women Community, a Community Advisor for Hofstra University's Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, The State of Black Long Island Equity Council through the Urban League of Long Island, and Legislative Chair for Jack & Jill of America Suffolk County Chapter.  She is a member of the Good Neighbors Initiative, Long Island Social Justice Action Network through New Hour For Women, and the creator of culturally relevant Facebook groups. In the past, she has been involved in organizations like Girl Scouts, where she was a troop leader for six years; the Huntington Station Enrichment Center, where she was a board member; and the National Association of Mothers' Centers, where she was a facilitator. 

Shanequa gives her all to campaigns that focus on marginalized community members. She has spoken at various events nationwide and facilitated countless workshops on advocacy and voter engagement in early learning centers, community groups, training programs, and colleges. She meets with community members one-on-one to guide them during their journey to become lifelong advocates. She works alongside prominent politicians, organizers, and individuals impelling change. Creating and getting involved with grassroots justice campaigns, participating in speaking circuits, and lobbying in New York and Washington, DC, led her to be instrumental in grassroots advocacy for legislative changes to Early Care and Learning, Raise The Age, Paid Family Leave Insurance, Bail Reform, Police Reform, Maternal Mortality, and policies that protect safety net programs which allow every child to thrive. Along with other leaders, her contributions helped give more access to affordable and quality child care, sixteen and seventeen-year old's the right to be tried and housed with youth instead of adults in the criminal justice system; moms, dads, military, adoptive parents, and caretakers the right to have their job secured while taking care of a loved one; allowed people not to have bail as a barrier while trying to prove their innocence; police working to begin to divert mental health 911 calls to local mental health professionals; a county voting to create a task force to work on reducing maternal mortality. 

After working for over a decade in the non-profit sector to advocate for mothers and children, Shanequa noticed the lack of diversity in non-profit social movements. She felt these movements were segregated; everyone was working to do good with people from their ethnicity only. To build cultural bridges, educate people on issues that affect them, celebrate diversity, unite women, and create unified advocacy opportunities, she founded the 501(c)(3) Women's Diversity Network, aka WDN or WDN Resource Center, where she serves as the Chief Executive Officer. The Women’s Diversity Network is now a nonprofit composed of women and gender-expansive people from many racial, ethnic, age, and socioeconomic groups. WDN practices transformative justice processes based on group leadership where marginalized lives are centered. Actions include dismantling systemic racism by educating communities about issues and policies, advocating to break down barriers that divide people, and celebrating diverse backgrounds.

WDN researches issues that concern women and gender-expansive people and advocates for public policies that support their well-being. WDN has four primary equity areas of focus: health, gender, wealth, and race. WDN’s most powerful elements include its Annual Diversity Summit. The summit provides people with the opportunity to learn from seasoned experts, experience cultural food and entertainment, and network with people from all walks of life. The Wealth Equity Fellowship bridges the wealth gap by exposing Black and Latinx women and gender-expansive people who are not making a living wage to different types of careers while helping them develop their soft skills and connecting them to advisors, coaches, and mentors. The Maternal Justice Program is working to improve maternal health care for racially marginalized communities through advocacy, coalition work, and prenatal care. The Youth Justice Leadership Program inspires and empowers students to become leaders and active change-makers in their communities and beyond by developing civic agency through history, literacy, and service, all through a diversity justice lens.

Shanequa also founded and convened Long Island United to Transform Policing & Community Safety. LI United is a Black-led, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition of organizations, activists, and community members working to ensure genuine public safety for all Long Island communities. LI United's mission is to transform public safety by divesting from policing and investing in our communities. Through this coalition, Shanequa was instrumental in creating The People’s Plan, a comprehensive set of public safety recommendations that presents 12 proposals for structural reform to Reimagine Policing and Public Safety to ensure that LI is safe for All Long Islanders. They were successful in both counties in police departments setting a code of conduct that will codify that police personnel will treat gender-expansive people as equal to cis folks and diverting mental health 911 calls to local mental health professionals. In Nassau, wins included Expanding Mental Health Response, improving data collection, increasing Public Safety communication oversight, improving the complaint process, pushing the conversation about racial bias in policing, and exposing politicians’ deep denial of systemic racism in both parties. In Suffolk, wins included expanding mental health response, public-facing Data - Dashboards, restrictions on pretextual stops, ending consent searches, warnings (not tickets) for equipment violations, the need to evaluate the SRO program with community members, parents, and pushing a conversation on independent oversight and police accountability. 

After surviving childhood poverty, dealing with drug-addicted parents, an incarcerated father, and having a teen mom, she understands the importance of using her voice to help others break negative generational cycles. She values loyalty, collaboration, justice, optimism, and honesty. Shanequa has written a book titled Poverty's Phoenix, which sheds light on the child's perspective of growing up in suburban poverty. Organizations, funders, and lawmakers are a few that consider her a partner and stakeholder.

​Shanequa attended Lincoln & Hofstra universities in pursuit of a bachelor's degree. She has certificates from Adelphi University for Organizational and Community Leadership, Social Movement Technologies for Digital Organizing, the University of Connecticut for Workplace Empowerment Leadership and Skills, the Rockwood Institute for The Art of Leadership, and the National Association of Mothers' Centers for Group Facilitation. She has been honored with proclamations, citations, and 12 awards for her leadership.

 

  • Advocacy Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Long Island Chapter

  • Advocate of the Year, Women In Government Relations (Top Tier Award)

  • Top 100 Most Powerful People on Long Island, City and State

  • Honoree, The National Center For Suburban Studies at Hofstra University

  • Woman of Distinction, Blank State Media

  • Woman of Distinction, NY State Senate

  • Women Persevering to Address Societal Injustices, AKA Sigma Psi Omega Chapter

  • Community Builder, Embrace Your C.A.K.E. 

  • Professional Leader, NY State Head Start  

  • Community Leader, LI Mocha Moms

  • Community Advocate, LI Head Start 

  • Honoree, The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University

 

She currently resides in the Metro Atlanta, GA area with her supportive husband and her two courageous young adults.

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