Aishatu Yusuf has spent the majority of her career working within multiple social systems with the purpose of creating better outcomes for marginalized youth, young people, and their families. Throughout her career, she has focused on child safety, youth, and adult legal system reform, child protection, and education policy. With the belief that change must be envisioned through an intersectional lens that captures race and gender identity, Aishatu has worked to reduce the education, health, and employment barriers for formerly incarcerated women; evaluated the strengths and needs of girls in gangs; and is currently working with the National Black Women’s Justice Institute on participatory research that addresses interrupting school to confinement pathways for Black girls and other girls of color.
Aishatu has worked with federal, state, and local governments to address issues that permeate the youth and adult legal system. She has presented her research at numerous conferences, has trained educators and law enforcement professionals across the nation, and has authored and co-authored various articles, book chapters, and other publications. Aishatu developed and led Impact Justice’s California Justice Leaders-AmeriCorps program that focuses on providing employment and training to formerly incarcerated individuals. As the director of innovation programs, she now leads a portfolio of transformational seed to scale projects including California Justice Leaders, the Homecoming Project, and Food in Prison.
In addition to her role at Impact Justice, Aishatu also serves as the Associate Director for the National Black Women’s Justice Institute. Aishatu holds two bachelor degrees from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in public administration from Northeastern University.