FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Melissa Franqui, 201-424-7456
Race Forward Welcomes Activist to Provide Movement Strategies for Racial Justice
February 19, 2019 (New York, NY) — Race Forward has named accomplished and award-winning advocate Vina Kay as the organization’s new Vice President of Movement and Capacity Building. Kay will replace renowned activist Rosana Cruz, who has stepped down from their role to pursue other projects in the racial justice field. Cruz will continue to work closely with Race Forward as a Senior Racial Justice Fellow.
Kay will lead a team that supports, strengthens, and expands grassroots movements for racial justice and increases the capacity of grassroots organizations to engage in transformative racial equity work. Movement and Capacity Building (MCB) provides trainings, webinars, convenings, consultations, and other programmatic activities to the broad racial justice community.
“I am looking forward to elevating the work of grassroots racial justice organizing — the heart of the movement — through this role at Race Forward,” said Vina Kay.
Prior to joining Race Forward, Kay served as Executive Director at Voices for Racial Justice, an organization based in Minnesota that works to create a healthy ecosystem of racial justice organizing through training and leadership development, culturally rooted policy tools and research practices, convenings and network building. While at Voices, she was also Director of Research and Policy, leading the work on the Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity, racial equity agendas, community narratives, and other tools that support grassroots organizing.
“We’re honored and thrilled to welcome Vina Kay to the Race Forward family,” said Race Forward president Glenn Harris. “The racial equity gains she led in Minnesota serve as models for communities across the U.S., and there is no one better suited to drive, to build, and to increase the capacity of our partner networks and our ability to advance racial justice together.”
Kay will structure and steer trainings and campaigns, such as Mass Freedom, a campaign that builds upon decades of work and visionary thinking by activists in the movements to end mass incarceration and mass deportation. MCB is establishing new strategies to strengthen the network of racial justice organizers and practitioners.
The daughter of immigrant parents from Thailand, Kay was raised in Omaha and is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Minnesota Law School. She has benefitted from the mentorship of great teachers, including the late Senator Paul Wellstone at Carleton and john powell at the University of Minnesota Law School. Following law school, she worked with john powell at the Institute on Race and Poverty, first as legal fellow and then as senior researcher and director of the Racial Justice and Regional Equity Project.
Kay is a writer of creative nonfiction and poetry, and has received the Loft Mentor Series award in creative nonfiction and a Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Residency at Tofte Lake Center for poetry. She has served on many boards, currently including the Seward Community Co-op in Minneapolis. She is Co-Director and Co-Producer of INSIDE MONTESSORI, a documentary film that reframes the conversation about education to focus on learning environments that support children, regardless of race, class, age, or community, in reaching their full potential.
In 2017, Race Forward united with the Center for Social Inclusion to become the new Race Forward.
Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Founded in 2002, CSI catalyzes community, government, and other institutions to dismantle structural racial inequity and create equitable outcomes for all.
The new Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice.