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Damien Howard

Damien Howard

Director of education initiatives | Together Chicago | Class of 2005

Being one of just two African Americans in his special education program at Illinois had both upsides and downsides for Damien Howard.

“My peers were always very curious concerning my perspective on every issue,” says the Chicago educator (BS '05, special education and teaching).

“This reality at times was uncomfortable, but it helped to foster my resolve as a persistent advocate for my community. Specifically, I champion the cause of urban education reform.

“As the director of education initiatives for Together Chicago and founder of Clever Characters, I spend my days dreaming about and working toward better educational opportunities for those from disinvested and even exploited realities.

“My grit, commitment to education reform and self-confidence was nurtured in those College of Education courses and practicum experiences. As I continue and expand these efforts, Illinois will remain as a lasting and important part of my narrative.”