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.
Raised in an interracial and multi-faith family and witness to the sometimes subtle (and sometimes obvious) ways that racism and xenophobia show up in our society, it is not surprising that Sandhya’s career has been marked by work to effect public policy change (working in the office of Congressman Thomas C. Sawyer from Akron, Ohio), religious liberty and an alternative voice to the religious right (at The Interfaith Alliance) and around the issues of housing for all (at East Bay Housing Organizations) as well as her work to build what Dr. Martin Luther King called Beloved Community (at the Oakland Peace Center).
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.
A passionate reader and writer, 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. Sandhya’s newest book, Transforming Communities: How People Like You are Healing Their Neighborhoods, focuses on concrete ways that regular people are creating change community-by-community in an era where positive change can feel impossible.
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.” 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 in classical music.