Gerald Hankerson

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Outreach Coordinator

Gerald Hankerson is CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator, leading community outreach, youth development, and civic engagement efforts. He directs the internship program, presents workshops, coordinates events and international engagement, and advocates policy and voting issues. He serves as a member of the African American Leadership Advisory Council at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which aims to maintain and increase recruitment and retention efforts for students of African and African American descent.  He also served three terms on the Board of Directors for Arise Chicago, an interfaith labor rights group. Gerald attended Lindblom Technical High School, graduating an Illinois State Scholar with high honors.  A President’s Scholar and Pipeline to Justice Fellow in the Social Justice Initiative at UIC, he graduated with a B.A. in Communications. Gerald served two terms in the Muslim Students’ Association as its Program Coordinator, was an UIC Ambassador through the African American Action Network, a member of the Black Student Union, and was inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. An alumnus of the Chicago Debate League, Gerald contributed to the urban debate movement for 15 years, including serving as Head Coach and Coordinator of policy debate programs in Chicago Public Schools for six seasons. Given his years of service and activism, the Chicago Debate Commission and the Chicago Debate League honored Gerald as its 2015 Alum of the Year.  North Park University (Chicago) recognized Gerald as a “Man of Excellence” in 2012.  His personal journey as a new Muslim during high school and college is featured in the book I Believe In...Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Young People Speak About Their Faith (compiled by Pearl Fuyo Gaskins, © 2004), as well as the international public education campaign, MyJihad. Gerald has been committed to sharing his experiences and perspectives on multiculturalism, youth development, volunteerism, writing, research, policy debate and social critiques to bridging gaps between diverse communities. Gerald  can be reached at

Saadia Pervaiz