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Elizabeth Clarke, President and Founder

Betsy Clarke is the founder and President of the Juvenile Justice Initiative. Prior to developing the Juvenile Justice Initiative, Betsy served as Juvenile Justice Counsel for the Office of the Cook County Public Defender for six years, and served for 15 years in the Office of the State Appellate Defender, including appointments as Legislative Liaison and Juvenile Justice Coordinator.

Ms. Clarke is the co-founder and director of the Midwest Juvenile Defender Center, a co-founder of the North American Council on Juvenile Justice, an advisory board member of the National Juvenile Defender Center, and a co-founder and active member of the National Juvenile Justice Network.   She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and serves on both the Child Law and Legislative Committees.

Ms. Clarke is a frequent speaker and has authored numerous articles, including the chapter on Appellate Review in the IICLE Juvenile Law Handbook, and a detailed study of the Illinois juvenile transfer provisions published in the National Journal of the Juvenile and Family Court Judge’s Association.   Ms. Clarke has been honored by numerous local and national organizations, and was named a “Champion for Change” in 2009 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and a national Youth Advocate by the National Juvenile Justice Network in 2013. You can contact Betsy at [email protected] or (847) 864-1567.

Luis Klein, Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships

Luis Klein is the Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships at the Juvenile Justice Initiative, where his work focuses on legislation and policy reform for youth in Illinois. Prior to coming on board at JJI, Luis spent the last four years as the District Director for State rep. Will Guzzardi, where he developed and executed the representative’s legislative agenda and budget. Luis has extensive expertise in campaign finance and field operations, and has worked as the Director of Finance for multiple campaigns, where he was in charge of donor cultivation and event management.  Luis earned his Bachelors  degree in Political Science from Loyola University Chicago. You can contact Luis at [email protected].

Jessica Uzoho, Director of Communications and Development

Jessica Uzoho is the Director of Communications and Development at the Juvenile Justice Initiative. Prior to coming on board at JJI, Jessica worked as the Director of Finance for multiple political campaigns, where she was in charge of large and small donor cultivation, coalition building, database management, event planning, and volunteer recruitment and management. As an Organizer for SEIU, Jessica built and maintained strong relationships with non union and union members and was able to build a strong coalition of leaders. Prior to joining SEIU, Jessica also served as a Fellow for the Kim Foxx for State’s Attorney Campaign and a Fellow for State rep. Christian Mitchell.  Jessica earned her Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from Chicago State University and is currently a Master in Public Management candidate at Johns Hopkins University. You can contact Jessica at [email protected].