Amisha Transitions to New Fight

After 15 Years of Strong Leadership Amisha is Transitioning Out as Executive Director

From Amisha:  

I have difficult news to share. As some of you know, five years ago I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and went through intensive treatment. Unfortunately, the cancer I thought I conquered five years ago has returned –  I received a metastatic cancer diagnosis a few weeks ago. Like many of you who have been through a life-threatening illness, I am shocked, angry, scared and determined. 

I’m currently working out a treatment plan, and will be going on medical leave shortly so that I can focus on healing. This news preempts what was to be my original big announcement – that after 15 years as executive director of Grassroots Collaborative and Grassroots Illinois Action, my plan was to step down from these incredible organizations to make room for new leadership. The timing of that transition is now more fluid, and we have begun the search for a new executive director with the help of the Morton Group. More to come on that front soon. 

I’m so proud of my time here at Grassroots Collaborative and Grassroots Illinois Action. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to work with such phenomenal grassroots leaders and rank-in-file members of powerhouse union and community organizations. To work with some of the sharpest, boldest organizers in the state. To grow with one of the most incredibly talented, strategic and loving staff teams there is. 

Transitioning out of this organization that has been my political home for 15 years is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I also know the time is right for fresh leadership, as we move into our third decade as an organization, working towards winning long term, structural change. I’m so grateful for the staff and Boards of these organizations, and cannot wait to see what they manifest in the coming years.

With love, care, and readiness,


From Erica:  

I and the rest of the Grassroots Collaborative board and staff are grateful to Amisha for her remarkable leadership. We wish her the best and offer our full support as she focuses on her health. Amisha started as Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative in 2007. Over the last 15 years, under Amisha’s leadership, the organization has grown exponentially, from a staff of 1 to a team of over 10 people across multiple cities, taking on essential fights for systemic change. 

So much of what Grassroots is today is because of Amisha’s leadership. She believes in the power of diverse groups of people coming together to take on shared fights. Her work to build a labor/community coalition built on connection and relationship building has been both beautiful and powerful. We saw this in the TIF work, which brought teachers, students, and neighborhood residents together to challenge the abuse of the TIF system. Our TIF work resulted in the return of hundreds of millions of dollars to Chicago’s public schools, parks, and libraries. You can see the impact of Amisha’s belief that we need to work together to make the whole pie bigger, not just our individual slices in the transformation of the way our movements relate to budget fights. Amisha was key in building a broad coalition of social service, union, and community organizations to demand – not just that their own programs not be cut – but instead that the state pass substantive progressive revenue to make their rich pay their fair to improve the lives of all Illinoisan. 

There have been so many campaigns and through them all, Amisha has remained clear and reminded us of WHO has the real power, the people. Through popular education trainings, the work of the collaborative has helped to empower our communities with the tools to name it, strategize about it collectively and fight for what we DESERVE. 

There is more work to do – both around TIFs, state revenue, and many other issues. I am excited for the years ahead as GC continues to bring people together to take on bold fights like a Green New Deal, taxing the rich, divesting from policing & surveillance, and investing in people. We are in a position to be moving this work because of Amisha and her leadership, and for that, all of us are so so thankful. 

With Love, 

Erica Bland-Durosinmi
GC Board President