Ana Mercado

Student Organizer, H.E.A.L. Together

Ana Mercado (she/they) leads all aspects of student organizing for H.E.A.L. (Honest Education Action and Leadership) Together at Race Forward. HEAL Together is a national campaign for quality public education that supports a multiracial democracy. Ana brings over 15 years of experience working with young people for racial justice.

As Director of Restorative Justice for Alternatives, Ana developed a schoolwide culture-shift model now adopted by Chicago Public Schools and founded an apprenticeship for system-involved young adults to become restorative justice practitioners. At Blocks Together on Chicago’s west side, Ana organized with Black and Latinx students on the neighborhood, city and national levels against policies and practices that feed the school-to-prison nexus.

At Access Living, she facilitated leadership development projects with youth of color with disabilities and supported campaigns against Special Education funding cuts. Her organizing is deeply influenced by her formative experiences as a popular educator connecting with immigrant movement-builders in the Southeast United States through the Highlander Center.

Ana is a recipient of the Forefront’s Equity in Education Fellowship and the Cultivate Women of Color in Leadership Fellowship. They have a degree in Cultural Interdisciplinary Studies from Antioch College. Ana was born and raised in the Dominican Republic within a multiracial family and lives in Chicago.