Gihan is a ‘liminalist.’
After she ended her deeply impactful tenure as executive director of Race Forward and publisher of the award-winning daily news site ColorLines, Rinku continued her meaningful contributions to PRE’s work in a direct way before taking the helm at Narrative Initiative. During her PRE fellowship, A writer and social strategist, Rinku not only served as the lead co-author on Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens: A Practical Guide; she also contributed to two op-eds about the need for domestic and international funders to deepen their analysis and practice of applying racial equity and racial justice lenses to all of their COVID-19 grantmaking. These essays were published shortly after the start of the pandemic, when its racialized impacts were not yet obvious to all — but well-anticipated by any of us in these communities.
Under Sen’s leadership, Race Forward generated some of the most impactful racial justice successes of recent years, including Drop the I-Word, a campaign for media outlets to stop referring to immigrants as “illegal” that resulted in the Associated Press, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and many more outlets changing their practice. She was also the architect of the Shattered Families report, which identified the number of kids in foster care whose parents had been deported.
Her books, Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advoacy and The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization (with Fekkak Mamdouh), theorize a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other systems. As a consultant, Rinku has worked on narrative and political strategy with numerous organizations and foundations, including PolicyLink, the ACLU, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She serves on numerous boards, including the Women’s March, where she is co-president, and the Foundation for National Progress, publisher of Mother Jones magazine.