Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com. A leading figure in the racial justice movement, Rinku has positioned ARC as a national home for media, research and activism on these issues. Over the course of her career, she has combined journalism and activism to make social change. Rinku is the author of Stir It Up, a primer on best practices in community organizing, and The Accidental American, a book about Moroccan immigrant Fekkak Mamdouh, who co-founded the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York in the aftermath of September 11. Rinku lives in Queens, New York.
Previously, Rinku served as the Communications Director and the Director of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative at ARC. Prior to that, Rinku held various leadership roles at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), a national network of organizations of color, where she trained new organizers and crafted public policy campaigns from 1988-2000.Rinku is the Vice Chair of the Schott Foundation for Public Education and a Boardmember of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. She is the Chair of the Media Consortium, an association of progressive independent media outlets, and she sits on the boards of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Working America. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards for activists and journalists.
Rinku started her organizing career as a student activist at Brown University, fighting race, gender and class discrimination on campuses. She received a B.A. in Women's Studies in 1988 and an M.S. in Journalism at Columbia University in 2005. A native of India, Rinku grew up in the northeastern factory towns, and learned to speak English in a two-room schoolhouse. She can often be found with a pair of knitting needles in her hands.
NorthStar Fund - News Prize (2009)
Nautilus Book Award - Silver Medal (2009)
Utne Reader -"50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" (2008)
Citizen Action of New York - Progressive Leadership Award (2008)
The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership - Victoria Award (2006)
The Asian American Journalists Association - Dr. Suzanne J. Ahn Award (2004)
Ms. Magazine - 21 Feminists to Watch in the 21st Century (1996)
Ms. Foundation for Women - Gloria Steinem Women of Vision Award (1996)
Rockwood Leadership Institute - National Yearlong Fellowship (2010)
Hunt Alternative Fund - Prime Mover Fellowship (2009)
Women's Media Center - Progressive Women's Voices Fellowship (2007)
Mesa Refuge Residency (2006)
Future of the City of New York - Charles H. Revson Fellowship (2004)
Windcall Institute Residency (2000)
The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation - Gerbode Fellowship (1999)
Rinku is a highly sought-after speaker on abroad range of racial justice topics including:
• Why Diversity Does Not Equal Equity: Taking On Today's Racial Climate
•Race and ... : Taking an Intersectional Approach to Racial Justice
•We're All Accidental Americans: Reframing the Immigration Discourse
•People of Color and the New Media Landscape
•LGBT issues and Communities of Color
•The Position of Asian Americans in US racial hierarchy
•The Racialization of Welfare
•Inequities in Education
•Evaluating Philanthropy through a Racial Justice Lens
To book a speaking engagement with Rinku Sen, please contact Jodi Solomon Speakers at 617.266.3450 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Writing and Media Appearances
Rinku is the author of The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization (Berrett-Koehler), which won the Nautilus Book Award Silver Medal, and Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing (Jossey-Bass). Rinku has regular columns at Colorlines, Huffington Post, and Jack and Jill Politics. Additionally, her commentary and work has been featured in Forbes, The San Francisco Chronicle, Market Watch, International Business Times, and Tompaine.com, AlterNet, Racialicious, The Root, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Windy City Times, among other media outlets.
Recent media quotes:
Washington Post: Rinku Sen…worries that the dialogue about race is being pushed back into the old paradigm that kept the nation in a stalemate. "I think that the line is, 'We've elected the black president, and now we're post-racial and everybody should just shut up.' It's very dismissive," Sen said. "We did elect the first black president, but people seem to forget that it was a hard campaign."
USA Today: Rinku Sen… said ACORN's collapse is a loss for minorities and the poor. Its membership — 400,000 at its peak — enabled it to highlight issues by building "a national drumbeat," she said. "That's where there's a big hole going forward." Sen said other organizing networks "will have to pick up that capacity."
To read Rinku's writing and op-eds, click here.
Rinku is a dynamic speaker who frequently goes on air to talk about the news of the days from a racial justice perspective. Media appearances include NPR; GritTV; Fox News; C-Span; Brave New Film's Meet the Bloggers; The Tavis Smiley Show; Air America’s Ron Reagan Show; Asia Pacific Forum; Pacifica Radio Stations, including KPFA’s The Morning Show; Regional NPR shows including WNYC’s The Takeaway, Peter B. Collins, and Michael Eric Dyson.
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President and Exec. Director, ARC
"Racial justice is key to a compassionate, inclusive, dynamic society."From "Movement Notes" Blog:
Find out more at rinkusen.com:
- Bio and Video Reel
- Media inquiries
- Speaking engagements