Rinku Sen’s 360 View on Racism, Classism and Sexism


About This Episode

In this episode, Race Forward Senior Strategist, Rinku Sen, looks at the world through the eyes of an activist and journalist, sharing her observations and convictions about the challenges facing women of color, in advancing their respective agendas. As a racial justice expert, Rinku beautifully touches on the importance of support and what is needed for women to excel in leadership roles.

About Rinku Sen

Rinku Sen is now Senior Strategist at Race Forward, and contributing writer for Colorlines. Under Sen’s leadership, Race Forward has generated some of the most impactful racial justice successes. One example is the groundbreaking Shattered Families report, which changed the immigration debate with investigative research on how record deportations of parents were leading to the placement of thousands of children in foster care, often separating them permanently and legally from their families. Sen was the architect of Drop the I-Word, a campaign for media outlets to stop referring to immigrants as “illegal,” resulting in the Associated Press, USA Today, LA Times, and many more outlets dropping the i-word, affecting millions of readers every day.

A visionary and a pragmatist, Sen is one of the leading voices in the racial justice movement, building upon the legacy of civil rights by transforming the way we talk about race, from something that is individual, intentional, and overt to something that is systemic, unconscious, and hidden. Prior to her work at Race Forward, Rinku served in leadership roles for over a decade at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), where she trained new organizers of color and crafted public policy campaigns. Sen’s cutting edge book, Stir it Up, read widely by community organizers and taught on campuses across the country, theorized a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other issues. Sen’s second book, The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age ofGlobalization, told the story of Moroccan immigrant Fekkak Mamdouh, who co-founded the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York in the aftermath of September 11. 

Rinku is the Co-Chair of the Schott Foundation for Public Education and sits on the boards of Hedgebrook and Working America. A highly sought-after keynote speaker for colleges, Sen has spoken at Harvard, Brown, University of Michigan, Penn State, and was the Commencement Speaker at Antioch New England.

Sen received a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Brown University and an M.S. in Journalism at Columbia University. A native of India, Rinku grew up in northeastern factory towns, and learned to speak English in a two-room schoolhouse.

Questions Answered on this Episode

  • Are there any trends or shifts that we should be looking at, in regards to women in the nonprofit sector? 
  • What do you think are the challenges of women of color who want to become thought leaders in the social justice space?
  • As a thought leader, what do you want your legacy to be?
  • Leadership require a certain level of vulnerability and authenticity. When do you feel most vulnerable in your work?

Hey Ladies! 

In honor of the launch of our podcast, we are doing a contest! One lucky winner will be awarded registration to our She Roars Master Class. If you aren’t already familiar with She Roars, it’s our online thought leadership training program for women in nonprofits. For 8 weeks, you will spend time with Vanessa and other agents of change in the nonprofit community, working to build YOUR thought leadership platform.

All you have to do to win:

  1. Subscribe to the Social Change Diaries podcast on iTunes (link above)
  2. Leave a review on iTunes letting us know what you thought of episode 1, or suggestions for topics for future seasons
  3. Take a screenshot of the review
  4. Email the screenshot to [email protected]

The winner be announced November 15th and enrolled in our spring 2018 Master Class program. To learn more about She Roars, click here.