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Fania Davis, Ph.D

Social justice activist

Fania Davis, Ph.D

Social justice activist

Biography

Fania Davis, cofounder and director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), is a national thought leader in her field. She is a long-time social justice activist, a restorative justice scholar and professor, and a civil rights attorney with a doctorate in indigenous knowledge. Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights era, Dr. Davis developed a passionate commitment to social transformation upon the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday school bombing.

For the following decades, she was active in the civil rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners’, peace, socialist, anti-imperialist, anti-racial violence, and anti-apartheid movements. After receiving her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979, Dr. Davis practiced for 27 years as a civil rights trial lawyer with a subspecialty in academic discrimination.

During the late 1990s, she entered a doctoral program in indigenous studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and apprenticed with traditional healers around the globe, particularly in Africa. Dr. Davis has since taught restorative justice and indigenous peacemaking at graduate and undergraduate levels. She has also served as counsel to the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Dr. Davis speaks and writes on the subjects of school-based restorative justice, race and restorative justice, the indigenous roots of restorative justice, social justice and restorative justice, truth and reconciliation, youth-based restorative justice, the school-to-prison pipeline, mass incarceration, and other topics.

Numerous honors include the Ubuntu Service to Humanity Award, the Maloney Award recognizing exceptional contributions in youth-based restorative justice, World Trust’s Healing Justice Award, the Tikkun (Repair the World) Award, the Bioneers Changemaker Award, and the LaFarge Social Justice Award. She is also a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.  The Los Angeles Times named Dr. Davis a “New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century.” She is a mother, grandmother, dancer, and yoga and qigong practitioner.