Mariame Kaba is the founding director of Project NIA. From 2004 to 2009, she was a program officer at the Steans Family Foundation where her work focused on education, youth development and evaluation.
Mariame has been active in the anti-violence against women and girls movement since 1989. Her experience includes coordinating emergency shelter services at Sanctuary for Families in New York City, serving as the co-chair of the Women of Color Committee at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, working as the prevention and education manager at Friends of Battered Women and their Children (now called Between Friends), serving on the founding advisory board of the Women and Girls Collective Action Network (WGCAN) and being a member of Incite! Women of Color against Violence. Mariame was also a member of the editorial board of the journal Violence against Women from January 2003-December 2008. She is the co-editor, along with Michelle VanNatta, of a special issue of the journal about teen girls' experiences of and resistance to violence published in December 2007.
Mariame was the primary adult ally and co-founder of the Rogers Park Young Women's Action Team. She has served on several boards and is proud to be a founding member and founding board chair of the Chicago Freedom School. Mariame considers herself above all to be a social justice educator. She has taught high school and college students in New York City and in Chicago. She has developed and taught courses about the history of black education, youth violence, urban education, and contemporary social issues at Northeastern Illinois University and at Northwestern University.
Mariame has written and published several articles and essays about urban education, youth leadership, and the significance of hair in the black community. She co-authored the Status of Girls in Illinois report along with Melissa Spatz and Michelle Vannatta. Most recently, Mariame has published a series of neighborhood-specific juvenile justice data snapshots and co-authored a report about juvenile arrests in Chicago titled "Arresting Justice" (with Caitlin Patterson).