Sandhya Jha serves as founder and director of the Oakland Peace Center, a collective of 40 organizations creating access, equity and dignity for all in Oakland and the Bay Area. She also serves as Director of Interfaith Programs for East Bay Housing Organizations, where she organizes faith communities to advocate for housing as a human right and spiritual mandate throughout California’s Bay Area. Former pastor of First Christian Church of Oakland and former regional staff with Christian Churches of Northern California-Nevada, Sandhya is the author of Room at the Table, the history of people of color in the Disciples of Christ, and Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines on the subject of race and spirituality in America. She serves as a consultant with Hope Partnership and an anti-racism/anti-oppression trainer with Reconciliation Ministries for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is a faith-rooted organizer with Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (formerly Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice – CA) and is particularly proud of her podcast, Hope from the Hood, available on iTunes and at sandhyajha.com
(longer bio here:)
Sandhya Jha serves as Director at the Oakland Peace Center, a collective of innovative non-profits doing powerful work to create justice and peace in the city of Oakland and the Bay Area. In relationship with each other, we magnify our power and our work exponentially, and we can share and lighten one another’s burdens. The OPC is also a physical space, and the legacy project of First Christian Church of Oakland, where Sandhya pastored for seven years. Sandhya is most inspired when she’s working with others to build up a community of interdependence, or Ubuntu, which is at the heart of the Oakland Peace Center.
Ordained in 2005 at National City Christian Church in Washington, DC, Sandhya’s passion is liberation ethics as an academic field and as a lived experience in urban communities. She has published “Room at the Table: The struggle for dignity and unity in Disciples history,” a book about people of color in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Sandhya is an anti-racism/anti-oppression trainer with the Disciples of Christ, a regular public speaker and preacher, and an occasional consultant for Hope Partnership’s New Beginnings program. She has a book on race and Christianity in America forthcoming from Chalice Press this March. She served on the regional staff of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Northern CA-NV from 2005-2013 and as pastor of First Christian Church of Oakland from 2006-2013. She remains active in her denomination in the work of anti-racism and congregational transformation.
Sandhya also serves as Director of Interfaith Programs at East Bay Housing Organizations, a membership organization that works to preserve, protect and expand affordable housing opportunities through education, advocacy and coalition-building in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. She is humbled to follow in the footsteps of civil rights leader Rev. Phil Lawson in this position. Sandhya is the product of a multi-religious family and has been involved in interfaith organizing since her days in Washington DC with The Interfaith Alliance. Prior to that work, she served on the staff of Ohio Congressman Thomas C. Sawyer.
The daughter of a mother from Scotland and a father from India, Sandhya has been shaped by both cultures and their values, and she is also quick to point out that she has about the two best parents a child could ask for. She’s the youngest of 14 cousins, the rest of whom live in India and whom she is desperate to visit.
Although she doesn’t like to brag, Sandhya is pretty proud to have received both a Master of Divinity and Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago in 2005, where her joint thesis was on the subject of “Public Goods, Public Bads, the Common Good and the Common Burden: Environmental Racism as a case study on the intersection of Public Policy and Theological Ethics.” It probably goes without saying that she gets far more excited about urban policy than a normal person should.