Shani Jamila

Shani Jamila directs the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center. Her career and studies have taken her to more than thirty five countries over five continents, a journey that is reflected in her art, community work and media commentary. Throughout her travels, Shani has spoken at global gatherings including the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Switzerland, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development in Turkey and the World Social Forum in India. Her writing has been published in collections such as Race, Class and Gender; Black Renaissance Noire; Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues; Colonize This!; The Words, Beats and Life Journal and The Encyclopedia of Sociology.

An avid supporter of initiatives that merge culture and social justice, she chaired a committee of esteemed professors and global experts consulted about effective arts education models for the National Cares Mentoring Movement and worked as the lead writer of the chapter on culture in the NCMM publication, A New Way Forward: Healing What’s Hurting Black America. Jamila also served in an advisory capacity with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and was the first alumni member to sit on the national selection committee for the New Voices fellowship-- which allocated resources to rebuild the post-Katrina Gulf Coast. For six years, Shani hosted and produced a weekly talk show about the arts and society on the Pacifica Radio network (WPFW 89.3FM).

Shani’s social justice work has been recognized by her alma mater, Spelman College, who featured her portrait and words in a permanent exhibition entitled “A Choice to Change the World” alongside luminaries including Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde and Michelle Obama. She has been awarded multiple grants for post-graduate study at institutions including Cornell University and the University of the West Indies, where she spent a year as a Fulbright fellow. Her work has also received international recognition in publications such as the Trinidad Guardian and Express newspapers, the London based literary magazine Sable, and ESSENCE -- as "One of the 35 Most Remarkable Women in the World."