Sandhya Jha (she/they) is an anti-oppression consultant who particularly loves helping organizations get Diversity/Equity/Inclusion teams off the ground. Sandhya is the founder and former executive director of the Oakland Peace Center, a collective of 40 organizations working to create equity, access and dignity as the means of creating peace in Oakland and the Bay Area. An ordained pastor with a masters in public policy, Sandhya is comfortable in the pulpit, on the picket line or hanging out with friends and friends-to-be over a good cup of tea and a good story. They are currently working on their fifth book for Chalice Press.
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 (having worked 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 (currently, at the Oakland Peace Center).
Sandhya serves as an anti-racism/anti-oppression trainer with Reconciliation Ministries for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also provides anti-oppression, cultural humility and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consulting and coaching for companies, higher education institutions, non-profits and faith organizations. For many years they have been an instructor with the Emerging Leaders Program at the Leadership Institute at Allen Temple.
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 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. Sandhya’s 2020 book, Liberating Love, is a 365-day devotional of love notes from God, connecting us to the people who inhabit the 66 books of the Bible and connecting us to God and each other at a time it is so easy to feel isolated.
Ordained at National City Christian Church in 2005 as a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, Sandhya is proud to have received both a Master of Divinity and Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, where their 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.” Sandhya gets far more excited about urban policy than a normal person should and loves to sing folk, jazz and gospel even though she was trained in classical music.
Anti-Oppression Training Background
Sandhya has spent fifteen years as an anti-oppression trainer and consultant, primarily with non-profits, youth organizing groups, universities and faith/interfaith organizations. Previous clients and events include:
- Young Workers United
- Bay Area Solidarity Summer (South Asian young adult activist training program)
- Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
- XPLOR National Year of Service program
- Higher Education andLeadership Ministries
- Cathedral of Hope (the largest LGBTQ church in the world, located in Dallas, TX)
- Los MedanosCommunityCollege
- Adjunct professor at three graduate schools on the subject of spirituality and social transformation/social justice
- Numerous UCC, UU, Disciples, Presbyterian, and other churches and middle judicatories
- National Association of Social Workers – Alaska Chapter
- National Association of Music Therapists, Western Region
Sandhya’s 2017 book, Transforming Communities: How People Like You are Healing Their Neighborhoods is being taught in community colleges, universities, seminariesand graduate programs for social justice, social work, criminal justice and urban planning.