Jen Dean

Chicago community organizer and political strategist. Chicago Votes is my home, serving as their Deputy Director. We drafted and now are advocating for legislation to end prison slave labor, making sure people with prior felonies can serve on a jury, and voting in prison.

Most of my time is spent protecting and expanding voting rights. This includes extensive civic programming and legislative implementation inside jails and prisons. The win’s created from the Unlock Civics program sparked a rapid national movement protecting civil rights and voting rights for people inside jails - spreading to over 30 detention facilities since 2018. The legislation I co-drafted, SB2090, turns Cook County Jail into the first jail in the country, that is an official polling location. Another historic squad win is passing the “Re-entering Citizen’s Civics Education Act” requiring anyone leaving prison to receive three, 90 minute peer-taught civics classes. We helped create the curriculum ensuring people leaving prison understand their voting rights, history of voting, and receive a voter registration form.

I have worked with several organizations on the legalization of cannabis, reducing stop and frisk (The STOP Act), #ByeAnita, Say Her Name, Black Lives Matter and the Fight for 15, while serving on the boards of Parole Illinois, Chasing23 and Bring Your Bag Chicago. I humbly received two major professional awards, one from MTV as a “Leader for Change” and the Barbara Jordan Award for excellence in judicial advocacy and education from Judicial Accountability PAC.

Some of my current organizing focuses on building a more diverse, quality judiciary. This involves the creation and distribution of 500,000 judicial voter guides each election cycle and launching a new court watching program at Chicago Votes.

My mission in life is to find the balance between adventures, traveling, and politics while encouraging other women to bring their "full selves" to the table.


Independent contract work.

I am a resource for strategic answers in the political and non-profit world. Whether you’re starting a new organization, about to run for office, or angry about an issue affecting your community; I am here as a solution-focused thought partner.

Consulting on

• Organizer guidance with large brands
• Anti-oppression training
• Strategic Planning
• Voter Registration Training
• Building an Issue Platform
• Field Plans
• Online Organizing
• Policy Planning
• Drafting Legislation
• Lobby Planning
• Organizational Health Assessment
• Building a Budget
• 501c3 / 501c4 compliance
• Internal & External Controls
• Media
• Peace Circles
• Mission & Values
• Board Development
• Coalition Development