Christelle N. Onwu is the Director of Social Work Unit, Lead Advisor for African Diaspora Communities, and Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the New York City Commission on Human Rights. She was a 2017 graduate of the Coro Immigrant Civic Leadership Program (ICLP), and serves as an Adjunct Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she teaches courses on Justice in the Africana World and Environmental Racism in the Africana Department. She is a fierce advocate for under-served populations with a focus on African communities in New York City.
At the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Christelle advocates and mobilizes the African community throughout the five boroughs and has given an unprecedented voice to one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in New York City, while also championing the causes of other communities. Prior to the Commission, Christelle served as a Social Worker Supervisor at Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families. There, she provided bilingual (French and English) counseling and case management to survivors of gender-based violence. She also served as a Policy Analyst at Safe Passage Project, New York Law School, where she worked with an interdisciplinary team of social advocates to analyze quantitative and qualitative research data on immigration policies within New York City and State.
Furthermore, Christelle interned at Families for Freedom as a Policy Analyst and drafted policy memos on how to handle diverse foreign nationals with criminal convictions on the verge of deportation. She earned her bachelor’s degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Masters’ of Science in Social Work Policy at Columbia University School of School Work, where her article titled “Understanding Female Genital Cutting in the United Kingdom within Immigrant Communities” was published in the Social Work Review. She is a proud New Yorker, lives in the Bronx with her family, and hails from Cameroon. She is fluent in French, pidgin, and Eton.