Reetu is a dancer, writer, lawyer, and organizer. She is currently a Managing Attorney in the Tenants’ Rights Team at Centro Legal de la Raza. She was the former interim Executive Director for Restore Oakland Inc. Her work focuses on the intersection of economic equity, criminal justice, racial justice, and re-envisioning equitable processes. She supported organizing and legal and policy analysis to stop SB 452, anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia, and pass the Trust Act Resolution for the City of Orlando as an attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Law Caucus. She also worked as a digital campaign manager for presente.org, working on criminal justice, corporate accountability, and economic equity campaigns, while envisioning how to deepen digital to on-the-ground organizing. Reetu was also a former public defender in Nashville, Tennessee, as a Gideon’s Promise Fellow. She received a Master of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was the Program in Criminal Justice and Policy Management Summer Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Summer Fellow, and the Keta Taylor Colby Fellow for Death Penalty Law. Her thesis research was used to support the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights publication: “Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Our Communities.” She also received a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall), where she was awarded the Francine Diaz Award for Social Justice. Reetu has also worked at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office, the Death Penalty Clinic, the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, and the East Bay Community Law Center’s Youth Defense and Education Clinic. Prior to graduate school Reetu was a community educator and organizer for a domestic violence agency, developing a prototype statewide curriculum on violence, gender identity, sexism, patriarchy, and racism for California youth.
Reetu has advocated and organized at the intersection of racial, economic, criminal, and immigration rights. Reetu’s understanding of the world has been deeply influenced by her family and South Asian ancestry, organizers willing to share their experiences, growing up in Concord, living in South America and Africa, and from the experiences and voices of the young people, people of color, and other systemically marginalized yet resilient communities with whom she has worked and belonged. Reetu works to ensure that people are seen as whole, multidimensional, and nuanced as systems of oppression try to replace their wholeness with one- dimensional caricatures. In that light, whether as a classical Kathak dancer, a folk dancer, a performance poet, director and producer of Vagina Monologues, or a former Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Freedom Fellow, Reetu believes that art, performance, and rule-bending create the pathway for liberation.