CRC has a brief conversation with Shashi Hanuman, a member of our recently launched Racial and Economic Justice Cohort. The cohort creates a space for relationship building, personal development, and organizational development through a racial justice lens for CRC members.

Name and organization:

Shashi Hanuman, Directing Attorney, Community Development Project, Public Counsel.

What does showing up for racial justice mean to you?

Racial justice, to me, is about true inclusion in a society that is just and fair. It’s about taking the lead from communities previously excluded, and centering race and place consciousness in decision-making. It’s not only about ending discrimination and systems designed to exclude — it is also about ensuring that life outcomes are no longer determined by the color of one’s skin. And this can only happen with affirmative policies and systems that are designed to guarantee inclusion. More personally, it’s about a world where people aren’t “othered,” scared and divided by social constructs or made to feel invisible.

In my work, it has meant approaching each task with greater intentionality and introspection, maintaining flexibility to redetermine priorities, and reenvisioning systems, both internal and external, so as not to exacerbate inequalities in our very quest to end them.

How has engaging in CRC’s R&EJ Cohort supported your work?

Public interest advocates have a long history of fighting for civil rights and racial justice. But at the same time, we work in a field known for its perpetuation of privilege. This juxtaposition has always existed, but now I have the language to name it. I’ve learned so much from the Cohort leaders and participants! It’s been an incredible space to reflect and to plan.

The Cohort offers learnings and teachings, but also, through a peer-to-peer system, it helps make us accountable to ourselves and to each other. This space has provided me with access to the tools to further examine and evaluate our work in community development with an intentional racial justice lens. And it has reinforced my own very deep and personal connection to this work.

If you are interested in joining our 2022 cohort, reach out to tjones@calreinvest.org.