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  • Writer's pictureShameka Reed

2020 Philanthropist of the Year Rukia Lumumba

Executive director of the People’s Advocacy Institute, co-director of the Electoral Justice Project and co-manager of the successful Committee to Elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba For Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, Rukia Lumumba is a transformative justice strategist and human rights advocate.

Named a "New Activist" by Essence magazine and an "Emerging Leader" by the Congressional Black Caucus, the daughter of community justice icon the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Nubia Lumumba, Rukia continues the Lumumba family's

rich history of advancing issues and initiatives that elevate the legal and economic, health and educational rights of individuals, families and communities.

“Philanthropy is a necessary action towards social change. I feel it is my responsibility to dedicate my time, mind, talents and financial resources to aid organizations and individuals.”

For more than 18 years, she has worked within and outside the system to foster justice for all, especially as it relates to criminal justice disparities for people of color. She served as director of two of New York state’s largest criminal justice nonprofits, CASES (Center for Alternatives Sentencing and Employment Services) and the Center for Community Alternatives, providing visionary leadership and building community and system partnerships to help break the prison pipeline. During her leadership tenure, more than 4,200 youths received supportive community-based services including housing, education, job and health and well-being services, in lieu of incarceration. She also served as co-chair of the Anti-Violence and Criminal Justice Working Group and as a steering committee member of the first Young Women’s Initiative in the United States dedicated to developing gender equitable policies in New York City, particularly for young women of color. Her work contributed to the development of She Will Be, a 144-page report of recommendations from stakeholders across New York City, including but not limited to community-based organizations, advocates, policy experts and young women themselves.

Rukia is co-chair of the Jackson People’s Assembly and serves on the boards of Operation Shoestring, the Edward W. Hazen Foundation and the Black Voters Matter Fund. She holds family dear and is most proud of being a wonderful mother to her son, Qadir. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science with an emphasis in international relations from Tougaloo College and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. and has studied law and politics in South Africa at the University of Forte Hare and the University of the Western Cape.

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