Introducing asia smith, Community Safety Organizer

Hello to all JCUA community members! My name is asia smith (I prefer my name written lowercase), and I will be organizing the Community Safety Committee.

I was born and raised in South Florida in West Palm Beach. After graduating high school, I moved to the Midwest to attend school at Kalamazoo College. Living in Kalamazoo was a big adjustment — it is a very small town and the first place I saw snow! There I was introduced to a vibrant community composed of all different people across race, class, faith, and spiritual practices. Bolstered by that environment, I began organizing around the issues that I deeply care about like housing and food justice. I graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology in June 2021 and moved to Chicago that summer.

As a newer resident of Chicago, I knew that I wanted to get involved in local organizing so I joined BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), a member-based organization that focuses on community building and liberation. I was then introduced to StopShotSpotter, a coalition working to cancel the contract of a harmful audio surveillance technology in our community. I now work with both groups to imagine and enact the type of world that prioritizes community safety and collective well-being.

I became aware of the amazing work JCUA was doing while speaking with a friend I met through BYP100. I knew that I wanted to concentrate my organizing efforts in the place where I live on the North side. I began doing more research on the history of JCUA and Jewish activism in Chicago at large. I was inspired to be a part of such a generative, intentional organization. I am looking forward to beginning my work alongside a team of organizers who are invested in the type of social justice activism that keeps our communities safer. I am very excited to get to know all JCUA community members, partners, and affiliates in the coming year!

The best part about living in Chicago is getting to explore and understand the rich history of the city. When I am not with my fellow organizers imagining all the ways we can bring about social, economic, and political liberation, you can catch me exploring my neighborhood, finding the best cupcake spots around town, or relaxing by the lake!

Please feel free to reach out to me ( to connect, I would love to hear from you!

Categories: Community Safety, Profiles

Growing up in a family of organizers in West Palm Beach, Florida, Asia (she/her) became interested in localized social justice movements early on. With the encouragement of her family and friends, she took up organizing around housing and food justice and is a fierce advocate for community-centered education and youth advocacy. Asia graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology from Kalamazoo College and recently moved to Chicago. When she isn’t studying or working, she enjoys reading, gardening, and catching up on her favorite shows.