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. Sandhya’s commitments to interfaith and interracial work were shaped by her Scottish (Presbyterian) mother and Indian (Hindu) father, as were her love of music and love of both chick pea curry and macaroni and cheese (although not together). She’s the youngest of 14 cousins, the rest of whom live in India and whom she is desperate to visit again.
Former pastor of First Christian Church of Oakland and former Director of Interfaith Programs at East Bay Housing Organizations, 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. Pre-Post-Racial America was listed as one of the top five books on race and religion in 2015 by Publishers Weekly. She serves as 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 with the Emerging Leaders Program at the Leadership Institute at Allen Temple. Sandhya is particularly proud of her podcast, Hope from the Hood, available on iTunes and at sandhyajha.com.
Ordained at National City Christian Church in 2005 as a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, Sandhya is pretty proud to have received both a Master of Divinity and Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, 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.” Before graduate school, Sandhya first worked for Congressman Thomas C. Sawyer of Akron, Ohio and then for the religious liberty organization The Interfaith Alliance. She gets far more excited about urban policy than a normal person should, and she loves to sing folk, jazz and gospel even though she was trained for classical music.