About Raise Your Hand Action

Raise Your Hand Action advocates for education policies that protect and support high-quality, well-resourced public education for all kids in Chicago and throughout the state.

We work on issues at both the city and state level including:

  • adequate and equitable school funding,
  • public school privatization, including the expansion of privately-run charter schools
  • misuse and overuse of standardized testing
  • democratic and transparent public school governance, in particular the need for an elected school board for Chicago Public Schools.

We are a membership organization, and, because collective action is key to effecting change, our members are connected in active networks covering legislative districts across Chicago and beyond. Connecting to other constituents and acting together is the best way to build power to advocate for better schools for all kids.

Raise Your Hand Action is a 501(c)(4) sister organization to the 501(c)(3) Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education. As a 501(c)(4), donations to Raise Your Hand Action, are not tax deductible.


Board members

Tim Alexander lives in Irving Park on the northwest side of Chicago. His three children attend OA Thorp Elementary School where he serves on the LSC. In addition to RYH Action he is active in parent organizing with the Parent Empowerment Network of Chicago, IL (PENCIL) a parent advocacy group.

Joy Clendenning lives in Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago. Her four children have attended, graduated from, or currently attend Ray Elementary, Whitney Young High School, and Kenwood Academy High School. Joy serves on the Kenwood LSC.

Cassie Creswell lives in Logan Square on the northwest side of Chicago. She served on Goethe Elementary School’s Title I Parent Advisory Council and the board of Friends of Goethe School. Her two children attended Chicago Public Schools and now attend the Urban Prairie Waldorf School. Cassie is the lead organizer for More Than a Score Chicago.

Jose Hernandez lives in Brighton Park on the southwest side of Chicago. He serves on the LSC at three neighborhood schools, including Calmeca Elementary School where his daughter is a student.

Jeff Jenkins lives in North Center on the north side of Chicago. His children attend Coonley Elementary School where Jeff serves on the LSC.

Wendy Katten lives in Lincoln Square on the north side of Chicago. Her son attends Burley Elementary School. She served on the board of the Friends of Burley. Wendy is the Director of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education.

Kerry Murphy lives in the Dunning neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago. Her children attend Dever Elementary School and Taft High School. Kerry is on the LSC at Dever.

Huu Nguyen lives in Logan Square on the northwest side of Chicago. Her children attend Goethe Elementary School where she serves on the LSC. She also teaches garden lessons for an Ethnobotanical Garden “Soulutionaries” program which she initiated there in Spring 2015.

Zerlina Smith lives in the South Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago. Her daughter attends Saucedo Elementary School. Zerlina is a member of the Saucedo LSC. She is a parent organizer for Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education.

Karen Yarbrough lives in Oak Park, Illinois. Her three children attend Longfellow Elementary School and Julian Middle School. Karen was twice appointed by Governor Quinn to serve on the Illinois Early Learning Council and served as Co-Chair of the Infant Toddler Committee of the Council. She currently serves on the Committee for Legislative Action, Intervention, and Monitoring (CLAIM) of the Oak Park Elementary School District 97 Board.