Photo of Naima Yael Tokunow, a Black woman with short curly black hair, wears tortoiseshell cat-eye glasses, wavy gold hoops and a white top, smiles at the camera.

Naima Yael Tokunow (she/her/hers) joined Change Elemental in 2021 as the Communications Associate, supporting the implementation of our communications strategies.

In addition to her communications work, Naima is an artist, poet, educator, and editor living on unceded Tiwa land (also known as Albuquerque, NM), with her husband, toddler, three dogs, and two chickens. She is interested in building roads towards equity, justice, and joy through liberatory education, narrative-sharing, radical reinvestment in BIPOC, queer, poor, and disabled makers, artists, and thinkers, and in continued accountability to a beloved community (including the community of the self). 

Before coming to Change Elemental, Naima coordinated The University of New Mexico’s Office on Violence Against Women Campus Grant, focusing on ending interpersonal and sexual violence within the campus community through educational interventions, staff & faculty training, and bolstering a coordinated community response for survivors by organizing first responders and support staff both on-campus and in the greater central New Mexico area. She has also worked with the University’s Communication and Marketing Department, as well as African American Student Services. 

Naima has almost a decade’s worth of higher education instructional experience, teaching both English, literature, and cultural studies courses at New Mexico State University, The University of New Mexico, and Southern New Hampshire University. She has been lucky to be able to build accessible, anti-racist, queer-positive educational spaces alongside brilliant youth. 

She holds a BA in Literary Arts from The New School and an MFA in Poetry from New Mexico State University. 

She is blessed to be Black and alive.