2021 Voqal Fellowship Spotlight: Jonathan Lykes

Picture of Jonathan Lykes

At Voqal, we understand that taking risks is necessary to achieve the progressive social change we want to see in the world. That’s why the Voqal Fellowship invests in people as individuals and budding entrepreneurs. The Fellowship is a talent accelerator aimed at giving those often overlooked by traditional funders a chance to enact their visions at center stage. This month we take a look at one of those individuals, Jonathan Lykes, and his project, Keeping House|Ballroom Community Alive Network (KBCAN).

Jonathan’s project, Keeping House|Ballroom Community Alive Network (KBCAN) taps into the radical imagination of the House|Ballroom community and dreams up a world that keeps its members safe as it expands economic opportunity and harnesses the power of queer/trans culture, storytelling, and ritual that allows the community to thrive.

Jonathan is a Black queer artist, activist, and academic. His interdisciplinary approach to art, activism, and anti-oppression work, merges policy change, artistic expression, and activism. Combining these forms of social transformation — and harnessing their synergy — Jonathan works to create awareness, promote personal healing, surmount institutional barriers, and generate systemic change.

Jonathan’s current position as Founder/Executive Director of Liberation House merges his multidisciplinary artistic background with public policy reform, community engagement and systems change work to teach liberation praxis by pushing the revolutionary edge of radical transformative movement work.

Jonathan is also the Director of Policy and Programs for Black Youth Project/GenForward Survey. He is also a founding member of BYP100, a movement of young adults using a Black Queer Feminist lens to advocate for community and institutional change. Through BYP100, Jonathan curated a freedom song and chant album, The Black Joy Experience, helping to teach holistic energy through the Black radical tradition.

Jonathan earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, where he also received his master’s degree from the School for Social Service Administration.

We are excited to support agents of progressive change like Jonathan and look forward to his continued work to create a more socially equitable world. You can learn more about Jonathan and the rest of the 2021 Fellowship Cohort on our fellowships page.