HAAS INSTITUTE DIRECTORS
john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties and a wide range of issues including race, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy. He is the Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, which supports research to generate specific prescriptions for changes in policy and practice that address disparities related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomics in California and nationwide. In addition, to being a Professor of Law and Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Professor powell holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion. He was recently the Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University and held the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties at the Moritz College of Law. Under his direction, the Kirwan Institute has emerged as a national leader on research and scholarship related to race, structural racism, racialized space and opportunity. He has been a leader in developing an “opportunity-based” housing model that provides a critical and creative framework for thinking about affordable housing, racialized space, and the many ways that housing influences other opportunity domains including education, health, health care, and employment.
Professor powell has written extensively on a number of issues including structural racism, racial justice and regionalism, concentrated poverty and urban sprawl, opportunity based housing, voting rights, affirmative action in the United States, South Africa and Brazil, racial and ethnic identity, spirituality and social justice, and the needs of citizens in a democratic society. He is the author of several books, including his most recent work, Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.
Previously, Professor powell founded and directed the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He also served as Director of Legal Services in Miami, Florida and was National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union where he was instrumental in developing educational adequacy theory.
Professor powell has worked and lived in Africa, where he was a consultant to the governments of Mozambique and South Africa. He has also lived and worked in India and done work in South America and Europe. He is one of the co-founders of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the board of several national organizations. Professor powell has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University.
Michael Omi is Associate Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies and Associate Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the co-author of Racial Formation in the United States, a groundbreaking work that transformed how we understand the social and historical forces that give race its changing meaning over time and place.
Since 1995, he has been the co-editor of the book series on Asian American History and Culture at Temple University Press. From 1999 to 2008, he served as a member and chair of the Daniel E. Koshland Committee for Civic Unity at the San Francisco Foundation. He is founding member of the faculty steering committee of the Center for New Racial Studies, a University of California Multi-Campus Research Project based at UC Santa Barbara. Michael Omi is a recipient of UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award — an honor bestowed on only 240 Berkeley faculty members since the award’s inception in 1959.
Stephen Menendian is the Assistant Director and Director of Research at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and the former senior legal associate at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University. Stephen oversees the Institute’s burgeoning research initiatives and ongoing projects, including the development of the Inclusiveness Index, opportunity enrollment methodology for university admissions, network building efforts, and community engagement. Stephen is the author of many law review articles, scholarly publications and a contributor to Berkeley Blog.
Stephen co-authored the Institute’s United States Supreme Court Amicus brief in Fisher v. Texas asking the Court to uphold the University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions policy, the Amicus brief for Mount Holly arguing that disparate impact standard remains essential to address the ongoing legacy of historical housing segregation, as well as an Amicus brief in the 2007 Seattle/Louisville K-12 integration cases to persuade the Court to sustain voluntary integration plans in the Seattle and Louisville school districts.
Recent scholarly publications include "Beyond Public/Private: Understanding Excessive Corporate Prerogative" for the Kentucky Law Journal, "Remaking Law: Moving Beyond Enlightenment Jurisprudence" for the St. Louis University Law Journal, "Parents Involved: The Mantle of Brown, the Shadow of Plessy" for the University of Louisville Law Review, and "Little Rock and the Legacy of Dred Scott" for the St. Louis Law Journal.
Stephen has trained policymakers, businesses, and other institutions on diversity, inclusion, and affirmative action practices, policies, and compliance, including creative ways to improve diversity within bounds of law. Stephen presented as part of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services Equal Opportunity Division’s training academy, and for the Moritz College of Law, the Graduate School of Education, the Multicultural Center, and on behalf of the Columbus Bar Association. Stephen published a guidebook on affirmative action for policymakers and advocates on behalf of the Kirwan Institute. Most recently, Stephen authored the State of Ohio’s new Diversity Strategies For Successful Schools Guidance, which was adopted by the State Board of Education of Ohio in May, 2012. In addition, Stephen co-authored an interim report, Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools: Recommendations to the State Board of Education of Ohio, on September, 2011 with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity.
Stephen has guest-lectured at UC Berkeley School of Law, the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University, and co-taught The History and Culture of Race and Law, a seminar at Wayne State University Law School, in the fall of 2009. Stephen is a licensed attorney.
Wendy Ake currently directs the Haas Institute's Regional Economic Equity project. Prior to joining the Haas Institute, Wendy was a researcher with the Global Justice Program at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University and served on the editorial board of Kirwan’s journal Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary in Global Contexts. She has worked with a number of community-based organizations and advocacy campaigns targeting issues associated with forced migration, refugee rights, internally displaced peoples, environmental politics, democratic media, and social movement building. With formal training in economic geography, physics, ecology, and data visualization she has participated in multiple research areas including educational approaches to teaching physics and writing/literacy, global food policy, climate change, forced migration, and strategic philanthropy.
She has served as staff and researcher with the Children's Learning Research Collaborative at Ohio State University's College of Education; the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing; the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity; the Physics Education Research Group in the Physics Department at the Ohio State University; the Women's Fund of Central Ohio, and Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights. She earned her master's degree in Environmental Science & Natural Resources at the Ohio State University with a focusing on the intersection of synthetic biology, climate change, and social theory.
Olivia is the Haas Institute's Network Coordinator for the Haas Network for Transformative Change where she will be supporting a new paradigm-shifting platform comprised of individuals and institutions dedicated to aligning a new movement to transform and penetrate our most pressing societal issues.
Previously Olivia was the executive director at Justice Matters, a racial justice organization based in Oakland, CA. Olivia’s twelve years at Justice Matters brought together her background as a daughter/sister of immigrants, mother, community organizer and policy analyst. She dedicated herself to changing the conditions communities of color experience at public schools by combining critical public policy analysis with powerful community organizing for educational justice. While at Justice Matters, Olivia developed organizing, research and policy methodologies that view communities of color as assets to schools. As part of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, Olivia worked as the Campaign Coordinator for the Driving While Black and Brown Campaign. Before this, she organized for police accountability in Oakland, CA for People United for a Better Oakland (PUEBLO).
Olivia relocated to the Bay Area from her home in Santa Ana, CA to go to UC Berkeley where she completed her B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish and Latin American Literature. She is a first-generation college graduate that benefited from Head Start and Affirmative Action programs and policies. In 2002, she completed her M.P.A. with a focus on public policy at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Elsadig Elsheikh is the director of the global justice program at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, where he oversees the program’s projects on global food system, global equity, and the human rights agenda.
Prior to Haas Institute, Elsadig directed the global justice program at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, where he also served as an associate editor of the Institute’s journal Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary in Global Contexts. Earlier, Elsadig was a researcher with the European Economic Community, Amnesty International, Witness for Peace, and various international grassroots and advocacy organizations on issues related to internal displaced persons, indigenous peoples, human rights, immigration, social mobilization, and environmental and social justice in Sudan, Greece, Colombia, and the United States.
Elsadig holds bachelor degrees from Panteion University Athens, Greece and the Ohio State University, and dual masters degree from the SIT Graduate Institute. He has guest-lectured at the Autonomist University of Barcelona, Columbia University, NYU, the Ohio State University, SIT, UC Berkeley, and University of Minnesota. Elsadig's research interests are on the themes and social dynamics relating to Africa’s large-scale land deals, agroecology, climate justice, the global food system, human and indigenous peoples rights, political ecology, social movements, state and citizenship, and structural inequality.
Samir Gambhir works as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) researcher and manager of Opportunity Mapping program at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. He has more than 9 years of experience in the field of mapping, spatial analysis and web-GIS. He has research experience in the areas of social justice, racial equity, planning, health and business, with a focus on human geography. Prior to joining the Haas Institute, Samir worked as GIS Manager for Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR), Toronto. Prior to CGHR, he worked as Senior GIS Researcher at The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University under john’s leadership. He graduated from The Ohio State University in 2003 with a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning. He holds a Bachelors degree in Architecture from India.
Eli is Program Manager for the Haas Institute’s strategic partnerships with grassroots community-based organizations. Eli has more than 10 years experience working with organizers to develop research and strategic capacity. Eli has written a number of reports and strategy papers on environmental justice, mass incarceration, community economic development and community health issues. Eli draws on training and experience with geographic information systems, mixed methods research, conflict mediation and negotiation, and popular education to facilitate participatory processes that allow those most affected by injustice to lead decision making and advance transformative change. Originally from the SF Bay Area, Eli holds a Bachelors degree from University of California at Santa Cruz and dual Masters degrees from Syracuse University.
Julie is a Senior Fellow at the Haas Institute where she is working with Director john powell on a national project to support and expand local government’s work on racial equity. Julie was the Director of the Office for Civil Rights for the City of Seattle from 2007 to early 2014, where under her leadership a vision was crafted for the city where all people enjoy equity, opportunity and freedom from illegal discrimination and institutionalized inequities. Julie led the Office for Civil Rights in its pursuit of racial and social justice for everyone in Seattle through education, policy work, and enforcement of civil rights laws. The Office for Civil Rights led Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, working within City government and the community to get to the root cause of racial inequity: institutional racism. To challenge racism, the Initiative looks beyond individual acts of prejudice to the systemic biases that are built into our institutions.
Julie worked for the City of Seattle for over twenty years, beginning as an intern in the Seattle Water Department. Her positions have included work with the Seattle Human Services Department, Administrative Services and the utilities. She also served as a Community Builder Fellow with the federal government at Housing and Urban Development. Julie has a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Washington and a BA from the University of Arizona with a double major in Economics and Finance. Julie is a strong advocate for the potential of government to overcome the historical legacy of creating and maintaining inequity.
ADMINISTRATION & OPERATIONS
Veronica Hash is the Administrative Manager of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and Executive Assistant to john powell. Prior to this position, she was the Professional Skills Program Assistant at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Since 2004, she has been a Performing Arts educator throughout California, specializing in all forms of dance, as well as, yoga, gymnastics and preschool music. Veronica is also involved in the special needs community; since moving to the Bay Area, she has served as a program coordinator and volunteer coach for e-soccer, an inclusive soccer program for players of all abilities. Veronica is an active member of the University of California, Berkeley’s Black Staff & Faculty Organization.
Rachel is the Haas Institute’s Administrative Assistant. Rachel is a Bay Area native with five years of management experience and a passion for non-profit organizations dedicated to bettering our communities. Rachel earned her BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management from Sonoma State University where she founded the the Lambda Kappa Pi Sorority. Rachel will be seeking an MBA in Environmental Design to expand her positive influence on the future of our communities. As the Administrative Assistant Rachel will streamline processes, communication and organization to maximize the Institute’s operational potential and influence.
COMMUNICATIONS & MEDIA
Rachelle is the Haas Institute’s Communications & Media Manager. Rachelle oversees the creation of the communications strategies and tools that are needed to bring the research of the Haas Institute and the faculty clusters to the media, community-based organizations and policymakers. Rachelle has spent the last 15 years working in nonprofit communications in the Bay Area. Her specialty is helping amplify the work of organizations through branding, design, defining an organization’s editorial voice, and building a communications structure that will support an organization's strategic vision.
Prior to the Haas Institute, Rachelle worked for 10 years managing communications at a large international development organization, East Meets West Foundation (now Thrive Networks) and before that, she managed member publications and online media at a San Francisco-based social justice and media advocacy nonprofit, a membership collective of independent publications such as Mother Jones, Harper’s, The Nation, In These Times, Tikkun and dozens more progressive and activist publications.
Rachelle got her start in design, writing and communications for higher education at California State University, Sacramento, where she studied graphic design as an undergraduate and then worked as a staff designer position for the Public Affairs office. Rachelle also holds a BA in Political Science and International Relations. A member of the Caddo Nation, Rachelle is on the Native American Staff Council at UC Berkeley.
Nadia is a Research Associate with the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society whose work focuses on visualizing data and tracing the connection of local to global and vice versa in the political economy of the global food system. She also has been researching the socio-economic impact of anchor institutions on marginalized communities to help support the institute's work in Richmond. Prior to HIFIS, Nadia worked at Human Rights Watch in New York and in the field in Palestine, at a local NGO, where she specialized in International Human Rights Law and advocacy for human rights. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of London in Research Architecture and a BA in Political Economy from UC Berkeley.
As a Research Assistant, Alexis Alvarez-Franco works on the impact of the Berkeley Global Campus as an anchor institution on marginalized communities in order to catalyze economic growth in these communities. Alexis was one of the authors of the "Anchor Richmond" report published by the Haas Institute. Alexis is a San Diego native and has previously worked with institutions focusing on policy research within the San Diego-Tijuana region. Alexis is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Political Economy and minoring in Environmental Design and Urbanism.
Darren is Research Assistant to john a. powell where his work focuses on structural racialization, the mind sciences, Othering and belonging, and the circle of human concern. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Gender & Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Philip Brett LGBT Studies Fellowship. Darren's research interests include transnational feminist and queer theories/theologies, cultural politics of gender and sexuality, and Filipino American/diaspora studies. His academic work is informed by his activist background in queer religious organizing, coming from his participation with the 2010 Soulfource Equality Ride. Prior to joining the Haas Institute, Darren interned as a Network and Research Associate at Race Forward, working as the primary author for the report, "Better Together in the South: Building Movements across Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation." Darren is also an Associate Curator at the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco.
Priyal Bhatt is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UC Berkeley studying Political Economy and Public Policy. As a Network Research Assistant, she assists in managing the Haas Institute's work on its Network for Transformative Change. In addition to internships in the social and environmental justice arena, she has been an active member of the service community at Cal. Outside of academics, Priyal is passionate about girls' education issues, exploring new cuisines, and reading historical fiction novels.
Stephanie is a Research Assistant to john a. powell where her work focuses on poverty, structural racism, implicit bias, and housing. Stephanie was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is a first generation college student. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. While there, she helped organize protests against Chick-Fil-A over its anti-gay policy and co-founded a student coalition, Change @ Emory, to address the racially hostile campus environment. Stephanie is now a second year student at Berkeley Law (Boalt). She serves as Co-President of the Berkeley La Raza Latino Law Students Association, Articles Editor for the Journal for African American Law and Policy, advocate for the Post-Conviction Advocacy Clinic, and member of the Board of Advocates Mock Trial Team. Stephanie is interested in working on transformative ways to create the “beloved community” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned; a community that treats all human beings as full citizens worthy of dignity and respect.
Alyson is a Research Assistant to john a. powell and a member of the California State Bar Association. A Seattle native, Alyson attended Western Washington University and received degrees in Sociology and Psychology with emphasis on race & ethnicity and behavioral neuroscience, respectively. Alyson worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center as a researcher for the Intelligence Report and as a law clerk to Morris Dees. She attended Boalt Hall School of Law (Berkeley Law) for law school, and has since worked in the public interest as an attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid and the East Bay Community Law Center. Her work includes both legislative advocacy for welfare reform and direct services for recipients of public benefits and victims of domestic abuse. Alyson is interested in restructuring state and federal welfare programs in order to combat structural racism and class-based bias.
Phuong Tseng is a GIS/Spatial Analysis Assistant to Samir Gambhir where their work concentrates on examining social injustices in geospatial data and presenting them as maps, tables and charts using GIS, Microsoft Office, Infographics and InDesign. Prior to working at the Haas Institute, Phuong worked as a GIS Lab Assistant with the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, Residential Assistant, SAW Advisory Board Advisor and Peer Educator at Mills College where Phuong received their Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Phuong is a first generation college student who identifies as genderqueer using singular they, their, them, and sometimes she and her as gender pronouns. Thus, Phuong's social justice leadership takes on an intersectional approach that focuses on race, gender, sexuality, and first generation identities. Phuong is passionate and enthusiastic about creating a more inclusive and just world through the use of radio podcasts, documentaries, flash mobs and social justice dialogues.
Alisa Zhao a research assistant with the Haas Institute's Regional Economic Equity project. Alisa is a senior at UC Berkeley studying economics and psychology. She is an honor student at Hinshaw’s lab in the Institute of Human development, working on an honor thesis regarding racial/ethnic differences of ADHD treatment outcome. Previously, Alisa was a senior research staff at Culture and Cognition Lab. She co-developed several research projects investigating racial/ethnic differences on power, beauty, crowd emotion and perception in Tsinghua University and UC Berkeley. Alisa is passionate about working at Haas Institute to help make potential systemic change to challenge racism and inequality.
HAAS INSTITUTE FELLOWSHIP
Magali Duque is a rising senior at Stanford University, majoring in History with a focus in World History and Global Affairs. She is also pursuing a minor in Modern Languages (French and Spanish). A Los Angeles native, she has always been interested in issues of inequality and equitable development, in particular how race, gender and class intersect and affect social development. This led her to join various student organizations on campus through which she has organized conferences and career fairs in order to promote advocacy for human rights and development issues. As an intern at the HAAS Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and a Roosevelt Fellow, she is excited to work alongside her colleagues on the Global Food System project through researching the role of corporations in issues of inequality.
Sara Grossman is a senior at UC Berkeley studying political economy with an emphasis on American Urbanization. She is also a senior staff writer for The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley's independent student newspaper, and previously served as the paper's executive news editor, overseeing coverage related to student life, campus administration, faculty research and the city of Berkeley. Prior to the Haas Institute, Sara interned with CNN's investigative unit in Atlanta, and, before that, The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. In addition to her work at The Daily Cal, Sara also serves as a volunteer editor for male felons at San Quentin State Prison, which houses the state's only inmate-run newspaper, the San Quentin News, and is an active member of Delta Phi Epsilon, UC Berkeley's co-ed professional foreign service and international affairs fraternity.
Rasheed Shabazz is a multimedia journalist and researcher. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelors in African American Studies and Political Science, with a minor in City and Regional Planning. Rasheed was most recently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, focusing on the establishment and operation of Black student news publications across the UC System. He is founder and currently editor-in-chief of The ABC Movement, a UC wide publication. He was also online editor for UC Berkeley's Onyx Express, a 20-year-old student publication. As a Gilman Scholar, Rasheed studied Swahili in Tanzania. As a McNair Scholar, his research focused on urban history and politics of higher education, focusing on the relocation of Oakland's Merritt College in the 1960s. His undergraduate thesis explored the history of housing discrimination against African Americans in his hometown of Alameda, CA. He previously studied at College of Alameda and Laney College in Oakland.
Chloe Tarrasch is a second year undergraduate at UC Berkeley and plans to major in Statistics and Political Economy. This fall, she is a Communications Fellow for the Haas Institute. She previously interned this summer at Curbed SF, an online real estate publication based in San Francisco. At school, she writes for The Daily Californian and volunteers at the Berkeley Student Food Collective. Chloe is passionate about institutional justice, specifically pertaining to economic inequality, gentrification and gender equality. She hopes to learn more about these pressing issues while also spreading this information to policymakers and the public.
Monica Elizondo is passionate about the intersections of food justice, social justice and inclusivity in the environmental movement. She is starting her second year at Diablo Valley College and hopes to double major at Cal in Environmental Science along with Society and Environment. She was honored to be a fellow at the Haas Institute because of the tremendous potential to make systemic change through research, policy and advocacy. Monica was an intern for several years at Summer of Solutions: Oakland, a youth-led grassroots program in Fruitvale. Through the program, she worked on projects with alternative energy and facilitated workshops to empower youth to become leaders. She uses writing as a means for social change. Monica’s published interview of Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the UFW, is still being used to inspire youth in juvenile halls.
Thomas Nolan is a second year law student at UC Berkeley School of Law and is interested in land use, privacy and immigration. Last fall he worked with the California Asylum Representation Clinic and represented his first client under attorney supervision. He was raised in Washington state and received a BA in History at the University of Washington in Seattle. His senior thesis analyzed the legal and societal processes that led to the exclusion of Pacific Northwest tribes from the commercial fishing industry in the late 19th century. Thomas has experience working with spatial analysis software, and looks forward to having the Institute's multidisciplinary and talented researchers and staff as his colleagues.
Natalia Reyes is a third year undergraduate at UC Berkeley double majoring in Legal Studies and Rhetoric with a concentration in Public Discourse. Natalia lives and works in the student-governed Berkeley Student Cooperative, where she has been a Board Member and is currently working to establish a substance-free Academic Theme House. In addition to her outreach and publications work as Communications Fellow for the Haas Institute, Natalia conducts research on human rights discourse and the Colombian Constitutional Court. Prior, she has written and edited for the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and The Daily Californian. She is a first generation college student passionate about access to justice, the power of discourse, and the economic potential of cooperatively-owned businesses. She managed the Haas Institute’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Jasmine Sadat recently finished her Master’s in City & Regional Planning from the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. Her concentrations are Housing, Community, and Economic Development (HCED) and Land Use. At HIFIS, Jasmine will be conducting spatial analyses and creating maps for research projects involving social justice issues. Jasmine will also be summarizing data as tables, charts or other visual representations in connection with employment, housing, education, and other contexts in the social justice arena. Overall, Jasmine has a strong passion for exploring and doing research on issues dealing with socio-spatial segregation and urban policy and planning. Outside of the office, Jasmine enjoys standup comedy and volunteering at local soup kitchens. She felt greatly privileged to work for The Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society.
Sharanya Sriram is a Summer Fellow with the Haas Institute, working with the Roosevelt Institute Summer Academy. She is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University, studying International Politics: Security Studies with a concentration in International Development. At the Institute, Sharanya worked on UC Berkeley's status as an anchor institution, especially with regard to the proposed Richmond Bay campus extension.