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Sasanka Jinadasa

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About Sasanka

Hello! I’m Sasanka (they/them) and I’m based in Durham, NC. For the past seven years, I have focused on creating organizational cultures that are more generous with their resources, more accountable to their communities, and more practiced in challenging injustice. I am committed to developing anti-carceral solutions to address conflict and violence. Some of my consulting projects have included: developing racial equity curricula for health departments, coaching nonprofit staff on accountability, building capacity for nonprofits on addressing trauma, and facilitating inter-movement conversations on harm reduction, racial equity, and (de/anti)criminalization. I have been primarily trained in harm reduction, public health, and studies of racialized gender and sexuality. I received my Masters in Public Health, focused on Addiction and Overdose as well as Health Finance and Management, from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.



“We don’t all have to agree on the left, but we have to agree that ultimately we want a world better than this, much much better than this. Not just a little bit better than this, but a whole lot better than this. Like a whole different world. We don’t have agree on how to get there. We can have radical passionate disagreement on how to get there and still believe in the same things.”

“The kind of issues that sex workers face are really extensive,” Jindasa told VICE Impact. “They’re enhanced by the stigma that sex workers face and things you’d see of people who live in poverty or people who live without housing, but also enhanced by this myriad of identity factors and work choices.”

“For Jinadasa and others with ties to the sex worker community, continuous attacks on Backpage ultimately feel misguided and disingenuous. Jinadasa concluded that, “To take away that space under the guise of moving people off the streets or moving people out of sex trafficking…it shows me that people don’t actually know the people who they’re trying to help, and they haven’t actually talked to the people they’re trying to help, and they haven’t listened to the people they’re trying to help.”

“As a queer woman of color, working with sex workers and drug users, the stigma around HIV permeates so many spaces I move through,” Jinadasa told the Washington Blade in a statement. “I’m grateful to be a part of the HIV 360 Fellowship Program, where I have had the chance to meet incredible young people working on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and dedicated to creating spaces for people to thrive, rather than just survive.”

“It’s really difficult for some people to just get places. Taking the bus or taking the Metro to go to a medical provider appointment on the other side of the city could cost $3 or $4, which might not be something everybody has,” said Jinadasa. “They could use that money to buy food or they could use that money to get to a medical appointment, which doesn’t seem as immediately useful. Underground markets exist for so many needs.”

“Targeting sex work is an indirect way of targeting the LGBT community without calling it outright discrimination,” she says. “That’s how a lot of discrimination happens in this country. We won’t say we’re directly homophobic or transphobic, but we’ll target the work, we’ll target the living of people in these communities. And by attacking sex workers, we’re attacking a huge segment of the LGBT community without having to say we’re homophobic or transphobic.”

More than 100 Harvard students have gotten involved in the DoubleTree campaign, including Sasanka Jinadasa, 21, president of the Radcliffe Union of Students, a feminist advocacy group. “If [Harvard] has a vested interest in the profits and the outcome of the company, it should care about what the workers want as well,” she said.
“Harvard has a duty to make sure that the standards of the DoubleTree are up to the standards of the workers on campus.”

“Especially for people of color and queer people on our campuses, our colleges are not doing enough. … We’re working hard on making sure that survivors’ stories are heard. One of those ways is having more transparent access to Title IX complaints, but in order for that to be effective, Title IX needs to be enforced on campuses.”


March 2016

Journal of Compressed Creative Arts

September 2015

Black Girl Dangerous

May 2015

Renegade Magazine

September 2013

The Feminist Wire

February 2013

Manifesta Magazine

November 2012

The Perspective

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