Ms. Deidra Somerville has worked for more than 25 years as a veteran organizer, strategic planner, advocate, administrator and fundraiser. She has worked in the public and private sector, and is currently at Roosevelt University. She is also currently active within people centered movements to address community-level trauma within the African American community, cooperative economics within poor communities, including African American and undocumented communities, and the restorative justice movement. A certified fundraising executive since 2009, Deidra also consults with many organizations in the Chicago Metropolitan area, most recently as a presenter for Forefront, Get In Chicago, and the Axelson Center. She has also worked to expand professional development opportunities for nonprofits serving low-income communities of color as a member of the planning committee of the Breakin It Down Conference, the longest running volunteer run professional development conference for small and emerging nonprofits in the region.
A native San Francisco, CA, she graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a double bachelor of arts with honors in sociology and political science and has an MSW in Human Resources Management from Boston University School of Social Work. Ms. Somerville has served as a Third Vice President of the Illinois Women’s Press Association, member of the Diversity and Fellows Committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and on the Youth Commission and Task Force as a volunteer for the Village of South Holland where she lives with her family. She was most recently appointed to the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues, representing the 4th District.
She is currently working on her dissertation in community psychology. Her topic of interest is Black maternal activism. She has completed a quantitative study of Black mothering and empowerment, and will build upon that study to develop a model of Black maternal activism using a community-based participatory research approach. The model will draw on genealogical, historical, spatial, cultural, ritual, social, and spiritual knowledge of the community participants engaged as co-creators of the model.
Initiated into the mysteries of Orisha Oshun in the Yoruba/Lucumi tradition for 16 years, Deidra is a diviner and spiritual worker as a member of Ile Osikan Temple in Chicago.