SASANKA JINADASA

Trainer, educator, and writer

 

About Sasanka

Sasanka Jinadasa is an advocate and educator in Washington DC working to end the oppression and criminalization of people who experience social stigma and state violence. Their work centers Black and brown people, queer and trans people, women and femmes. Sasanka currently provides training and technical assistance through Reframe Health and Justice, a full-service national consulting collaborative, creating spaces/analyzing organizations/producing documents for change-makers in the public and private sector. Sasanka loves cats, manicures, Toni Morrison and Missy Elliott.

 
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Training

pre-designed workshops

  • take space, make space: facilitating across difference (3 hours)

  • practicing intersectionality in the workplace (2 hours)

  • advocates, allies, accomplices: changing power dynamics in social justice spaces (3 hours)

individual and group training

  • grassroots fundraising on a budget – or no budget

  • managing as a person of color in majority white organizations

  • harm reduction in theory and practice

  • trauma-informed organizations

speaking fees available upon request

 
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Press

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

 

Writing

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

 

Contact

Email:

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Washington, DC, USA

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