Helen Mrema is a Community Organizing Advocate at the ACLU of South Carolina. Helen is committed to being of service and accessible to the communities they serve in many forms. Their top priority is advocating for community representation at every level of decision-making. This begins with creating tools and developing programing that make information, knowledge and language accessible for all. The goal is to empower community engagement and collaboration at every level of decision-making. "Nothing about us without us is for us."
Helen is a member of the People's Budget Coalition, a united front of grassroots and community partners advocating for equitable city budgets, the elimination of poverty and racial disparities in public safety, and the redistribution of power to create true accountability with city officials and public systems in Charleston County.
Previously, Helen served as the Criminal Justice Advocate at the ACLU of Tennessee, where they co-designed dynamic and sustainable issue-based campaigns that supported pressing policy, legal, and legislative strategies. They received their Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a concentration in Organizational Leadership.
Helen was born and raised in Uppsala, Sweden and is of Tanzanian decent. As with most people born in a country separate from their country of ancestry, their relationship with identity and belonging is constantly evolving. They are gratful for their loving and brilliant parents, Frank and Tamari Mrema, for surrounding their upbringing with a constant presence and celebration of their home culture, language, and wisdom. Their strength keeps Helen grounded.
The source of Helen's inspiration and guidance is powered by their children---both human and furry. Isabelle teaches them everything about life and balance. Isabelle is an artist to her core, and she harbors a level of wisdom that far outpaces her years in this world. Noah teaches them how to harness their passion and to push back at the slightest injustice. He holds everyone accountable for their inconsistencies—yes, E-VER-Y-ONE! Judah teaches Helen how to live life completely open, liberated and unapologetic. He lives for joy with no hesitation, no exceptions!