Keyontay has the privilege of pursuing a career driven by passion for community building and empowerment. She is the Chief of Staff for Detroit City Council Pro Tempore James Tate, Jr. Prior to joining Pro Tem Tate’s team, she served as the Strategy Manager for former Detroit City Councilmember Raquel Castañeda-Lopez.
From legislation related to food trucks, cannabis business licenses, and residential and commercial revitalization, she leads policy and community initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for Detroiters. She manages the office staff and provides oversight of municipal and federal funds.
During law school, she clerked in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with Judge Judith Levy and served as a student-lawyer with the court’s Federal Pro se Clinic. Keyontay received a CALI Excellence for the Future Award in recognition of coursework completed in Mobility Technologies. She also earned a Book Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement for her writings in Select Topics in First Amendment Law. She was the recipient of a host of scholarships including the Wolverine Bar Foundation’s Victoria A. Roberts Scholarship. Keyontay received her JD from the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.
Prior to law school, Keyontay worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Southern Poverty Law Center as a Lead Organizer and Advocate, respectively. She led campaigns resulting in a reduction in the number of beds available in Florida’s juvenile justice system in favor of robust community-based support programs. She also led a national coalition that successfully unseated a Florida prosecutor who vehemently supported and disproportionately sought the death penalty. Moreover, she worked to strengthen community support for student-led Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) and was instrumental in filing US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights complaints against five Florida school districts, including Escambia, Okaloosa, and Bay County School Districts. All the complaints resulted in active and open investigations by the federal government, with most ending in corrective action agreements which significantly changed how the school districts discipline students.
In college, Keyontay co-founded the Roosevelt Institute Student Chapter at Kalamazoo College. She also served as the Midwest Regional Legislative Director and was a summer intern.
After college, she helped edit the Campus Network’s “10 Ideas” publication. Most recently, she co-led the Alumni Network’s Roosevelters in the Law and BiPOC Affinity Groups.
Keyontay lives in Detroit and enjoys being a dog-mom to her pup. Her most cherished experiences come from the time she spends with her nephews.