The Ford Foundation New Voices Fellowship

The Ford Foundation was a deep state front in the ’50s and ’60s. What is it up to now? Well, it has something called the ‘New Voices Fellowship’. Here are a few Ford Foundation New Voices Fellows.

1. Christine Ahn (@christineahn), a pro-North Korea propagandist:

Ahn has long led a group called the “Korea Solidarity Committee,” or KSC, which describes itself as “a group of progressive Korean American activists, students and artists” in the San Francisco Bay Area, who were inspired by “a desire to debunk the racist portrayals of North Korea, and present a more critical perspective on the continuing North Korean nuclear crisis.” I don’t know if Ahn calls herself a Communist or not, but she is on sisterly terms with Judith LeBlanc, a former Vice-Chair of the Communist Party, USA, a legacy Stalinist rump faction led for years by Gus Hall. …

Ahn opposed human rights legislation for North Korea that funded broadcasting to North Korea, and that provided for aid and asylum for North Korean refugees, calling it an effort “by hawkish conservatives and Christian fundamentalists with the intention of bringing regime change in North Korea.” (As if that would be a bad thing.) …

On at least two separate occasions, Ahn has referred to North Korea’s “alleged” sinking of the ROKS Cheonan, an attack that killed 44 South Korean sailors, despite the findings of an international investigation team that a North Korean submarine torpedoed the ship. This was almost certainly a nod to a conspiracy industry that grew up in left-wing South Korean circles that were in denial after the attack. If Ahn has ever acknowledged North Korea’s responsibility for the attack, I can’t find where she ever has. (Update: In this tweet, Ahn expressed support for conspiracy theories denying North Korea’s responsibility for the attack.) …

Ahn decries “the assumption that the famine in North Korea was a result of Chief of State Kim Jong Il’s mismanagement of the country,” and assails “attributing the cause of North Korea’s famine to an ‘evil dictator.’” Ahn blames the famine on a combination of the collapse of the U.S.S.R., “droughts and floods that . . . destroyed much of the harvest,” and “economic sanctions led by the U.S. and its refusal to end the 50-year Korean War.” Ahn never acknowledges that throughout much of the famine, the U.S. was the largest donor to food aid programs in North Korea, or that North Korean authorities diverted much of the aid and manipulated aid workers into distributing it on the basis of political caste, rather than humanitarian need. As for the droughts and floods, those have struck North Korea for 25 consecutive years now, hardly ever crossing the DMZ and never causing a famine in South Korea. For some reason.

Whether there is still famine in North Korea on a smaller scale or not, many people there are still malnourished, and the World Food Program is still appealing for aid. In a 2010 op-ed, Ahn again blamed American sanctions, which at the time were narrowly targeted at North Korean entities linked to proliferation, for restricting Pyongyang’s “ability to purchase the materials it needs to meet the basic food, healthcare, sanitation and educational needs of its people.” Yet according to the economist Marcus Noland, North Korea’s food gap “could be closed for something on the order of $8 million to $19 million — less than two-tenths of one percent of national income or one percent of the military budget.”

Meanwhile, under Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s (known) annual spending on luxury goods has skyrocketed to over $600 million a year.

2. Purvi Shah (@leftinmiami)

Purvi Shah is the Bertha Justice Institute Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. As the Director of CCR’s new training institute, her work focuses on deepening the theory and practice of movement lawyering across the United States and the world. Through the Institute, Purvi supports lawyers at every stage in their careers – as students, emerging lawyers, and senior lawyers – to both develop a deeper understanding of the connections between law and social change and to gain the practical skills and expertise to be effective advocates. Purvi’s current projects include designing CCR’s internship and post-graduate fellowship programs, including the Ella Baker Program; publishing educational resources and training materials on the theory and practice of movement lawyering; designing and facilitating national and international conferences, trainings, and CLEs; and building national and international networks to increase collaboration, innovation, and strategic thinking within the progressive legal sector. Most recent, she co-founded the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee—a national network of lawyers working to support the Ferguson movement and the growing national #BlackLivesMatter movement. Prior to coming to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Purvi spent a decade working as a litigator, law professor, and community organizer. At the Community Justice Project at Florida Legal Services – a project she co-founded and started – she litigated on behalf of taxi drivers, tenants, public housing residents, and immigrants in a variety of class actions and affirmative damages litigation. She was an adjunct clinical professor at the University of Miami School of Law, where she co-founded the Community Lawyering Clinic. She graduated from Northwestern University and the Berkeley School of Law at the University of California. Her honors and awards include the Ford Foundation’s New Voices Fellowship, the ACLU of Florida Rodney Thaxton Award for Racial Justice, and the Miami Foundation’s 2009 Miami Fellowship. Her work has been featured on MSNBC and in The Nation.

In September 2015, Shah gave a talk at Harvard:

Come hear Purvi Shah, Director, Bertha Justice Institute, Center for Constitutional Rights, discuss movement lawyering, why lawyers matter and what students can do to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Co-sponsored with BLSA, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Criminal Justice Program of Study, Research and Advocacy, Systemic Justice Project, Criminal Justice Institute, Law and Social Change Program of Study, Students for Inclusion, and Lambda. Non-pizza lunch will be provided.

Purvi Shah is the Bertha Justice Institute Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. As the Director of CCR’s new training institute, her work focuses on deepening the theory and practice of movement lawyering across the United States and the world. Through the Institute, Purvi supports lawyers at every stage in their careers – as students, emerging lawyers, and senior lawyers – to both develop a deeper understanding of the connections between law and social change and to gain the practical skills and expertise to be effective advocates. Purvi’s current projects include designing CCR’s internship and post-graduate fellowship programs, including the Ella Baker Program; publishing educational resources and training materials on the theory and practice of movement lawyering; designing and facilitating national and international conferences, trainings, and CLEs; and building national and international networks to increase collaboration, innovation, and strategic thinking within the progressive legal sector. Most recent, she co-founded the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee—a national network of lawyers working to support the Ferguson movement and the growing national #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Prior to coming to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Purvi spent a decade working as a litigator, law professor, and community organizer. At the Community Justice Project at Florida Legal Services – a project she co-founded and started – she litigated on behalf of taxi drivers, tenants, public housing residents, and immigrants in a variety of class actions and affirmative damages litigation. She was an adjunct clinical professor at the University of Miami School of Law, where she co-founded the Community Lawyering Clinic. She graduated from Northwestern University and the Berkeley School of Law at the University of California. Her honors and awards include the Ford Foundation’s New Voices Fellowship, the ACLU of Florida Rodney Thaxton Award for Racial Justice, and the Miami Foundation’s 2009 Miami Fellowship. Her work has been featured on MSNBC and in The Nation.

3. Christopher Punongbayan, executive director of the San Francisco pressure group Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, former ‘advocacy director’ of Filipinos For Affirmative Action, and (apparently) certified yoga instructor

Instead of hoops and hurdles, what the 12 million undocumented people living in the United States need are fair reforms that recognize the positive contributions millions of immigrants — undocumented or otherwise — have on the United States.

Legalization must be offered equally to immigrants across the board. Employer sanctions, which make it illegal for undocumented immigrants to hold gainful employment, need to be eliminated. And criminalization of immigrants and heavy-handed enforcement measures must be rejected.

When Congress returns from recess, it must get back to work and resolve this debate by passing a legalization program that upholds the rights of all.

Christopher Punongbayan is advocacy director at Filipinos For Affirmative Action, and a current Ford Foundation New Voices Fellow. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

4. Sushma Sheth (@sushmachete)

Sushma Sheth MBA MPA is a manager with Accenture Strategy focused on organizational and talent challenges facing the private and social sectors. Her clients include pharmaceutical firms, consumer product companies, multilateral organizations, and government agencies across the Unites States, Europe, and Latin America. She recently co-authored the publication, “Are you the weakest link? Strengthening you talent supply chain”.

Outside management consulting, Sushma partners with social justice organizations addressing challenges of the evolving digital global economy.  She serves as Organizing Ventures Advisor to New Virginia Majority, representing small business owners, low-wage workers, and immigrant families in Northern Virginia. Sushma also serves as Advisor to Fair Care Labs, the innovation arm of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.  The lab recently launched the Good Work Code, eight values for good work in the online economy featured in Fast Company and CNN Money.

Sushma served on the teaching team for Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change with Professor Ron Heifetz in 2011 as well as joined Kim Leary PhD MPA and Professor Heifetz for the White House Youth Leadership and Policy Hackathon in the summer of 2015.

Originally from Miami, Florida, Sushma is the first-born daughter of Indian immigrants and grocery store owners. Prior to graduate study, Sushma co-founded the Miami Workers Center and served as Director of Programs from 2001-2008. She was named Miami’s 25 Power Women in 2005, Ford Foundation New Voices Fellow in 2002, Miami Foundation Fellow in 2007, and recipient of Robert Thaxton ACLU Award for Racial Justice in 2008. Sushma holds a MBA from Kellogg School of Management and MPA from Harvard Kennedy School as a Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow and Harvard Center for Public Leadership Emerging Leader Dubin Fellow. She earned her BA in Community Development Studies from Brown University in 2001.

You’ve got to wonder about an MBA at Accenture Strategy who puts this much effort into posturing as a Maoist.

5. Debanuj DasGupta

Debanuj DasGupta is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the South Asia Studies Initiative at the Ohio State University. His research interests are broadly related to the intensification of neoliberalism and bio-politics in contemporary United States and India. Debanuj’s dissertation is titled “Racial Regulations and Queer Claims to Livable Lives.” His dissertation analyzes immigration regulation related to HIV/AIDS, transgender asylum, and the formation of racialized queer migrant subjectivity within the past two decades in the US. Debanuj maintains a strong secondary research interest in the relationships between Hindutva, neoliberalism, and sexuality politics in India. He currently holds a Graduate Administrative Associate position with the Morrill Scholars Program at the Office of Diversity Inclusion. In this capacity Debanuj is responsible for creating social-justice related academic enrichment programs for the largest diversity leadership program in the country. He is actively engaged in university governance and serves as the Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the Council of Graduate Students. Debanuj is the graduate student representative on the University Senate Diversity Committee.

He has worked for over 16 years across two continents in the “civil society sector.” In 1994 Debanuj founded the first HIV prevention program for men-who-have-sex-with-men in Kolkata, India. His work in the US has largely been within the environmental rights, sexual rights and immigrant rights movements. Debanuj has received numerous grants, awards and fellowships notably the Association of American Geographers T.J.Reynolds Award for Disability Studies (2013 & 2012), The Space, Sexualities, and Queer Research Group of the Royal Geographic Society-Institute of British Geographers Scholarship towards attending RGS-IBG ( 2012), Arts & Humanities Graduate Research Small Grant from the Ohio State University (2011), Ford Foundation / Academy for Educational Development funded New Voices Fellowship (2006), The British Department for International Development-West Bengal Sexual Health Project Multi-Year Award (1995-1998), Graduate Research Fellowships from the University of Akron (1996-1998), and The International AIDS Society Fellowships for Emerging Activists (1996). Debanuj holds a B.A. in Sociology (HONS) from Presidency College, Kolkata (now the Presidency Autonomous University), and an MA in Geography & Urban Planning from the University of Akron, OH. Debanuj’s work has been published in the Disability Studies Quarterly, Contemporary South Asia, the Scholar & Feminist Online, South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection (SAMAR), make/shift, and the WhiteCrane Journal.

Areas of Expertise:
* Global Philanthropy
* Transnational Feminist & Sexuality Studies
* Race & Queer theory
* Space and Subjectivity
* Women of Color Philosophers
* South Asian Languages and Literature
* Activism and the Academy

 

Here’s his academia.edu profile. His shtick is something about “queering immigration”.

 

 

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6 responses to “The Ford Foundation New Voices Fellowship

  1. Pingback: The Ford Foundation New Voices Fellowship | Reaction Times

  2. vanderede June 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

    My god, they’re characters straight out of a Wolfe novel
    Mind you, half of me thinks that 2016 as a whole is just the rough draft of a Wolfe novel which he declined to publish because he thought it was too ridiculous

  3. ivvenalis June 28, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Ive been noticing a heavy Indian presence in the SJ and Open Borders movements over the past few years. Certainly more so than East Asians.

  4. Pingback: Picks of the Litter (6/30) – Wrong Side of History

  5. spottedtoad June 30, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    So…more commie, less commie, or equally commie to the Ford Foundation of the 50s and 60s?

  6. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2016/07/03) - Social Matter

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