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.
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.
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.