Decatur’s Alana Banks takes new job with The Okra Project


Alana Banks, who made history last year with her election to the Decatur school board, has accepted a new job with The Okra Project.

The Okra Project, according to their website, is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black transgender people by bringing home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black trans people. Banks is now their development director.

Her role, an executive position, will cover a lot of duties, including will oversee, manage, and monitor the development and delivery of our programs and services, Provide oversight and management, Develop and administer operational policies, Foster a culture of collaboration, teamwork, trust, alignment, and morale across the organization, and Engage with the community to understand needs and work with community members to find workable solutions that the Okra Project can support.

While the organization is focused on the New York and New Jersey area, Banks will be keeping her home in Decatur and her school board position.

“My primary residence will remain in Illinois, however there may be an option for a secondary residence in New York,” she told the Illinois Eagle. “I have been going back and forth between Illinois and New York with no problems, thus far. I have no plans to resign from the board.”

Banks is the first out Black trans woman to be voted onto a public school board in the U.S. and one of the first trans women in Illinois to be elected to a non-judicial seat.



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