Palak Shah was previously a staff researcher with Political Research Associates (PRA), the publisher of Defending Justice. PRA is a progressive think tank that studies and analyzes the U.S. political Right and authoritarian movements. Palak's primary role at PRA was to write and edit Defending Justice. Over the course of two years, Palak steadily built relationships with major activists and organizations around the country working to challenge the Prison Industrial Complex. She established a collaborative research and editing process for Defending Justice that relied heavily on the advice and contributions from over 75 leading criminal justice activists and experts. To complement the research process, Palak facilitates a weekly Black Studies class for prisoners incarcerated at the Suffolk County House of Corrections.
Palak currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), a 25-year-old pan-Asian community organization based in Boston's Chinatown. For the past few years, Palak has led AARW's groundbreaking community discussions on topics such as Black-Asian Violence in Boston, Globalization and Free Trade, Cambodian Refugee Crisis, Hate Crimes, Affirmative Action, and Asians in the Media.
In 1996, Palak helped establish VISIONS Worldwide, an international youth-run NGO focused on the HIV/AIDS crisis in India. For more than 6 years, Palak conducted youth education and organizing projects in both India and the U.S. Palak has also worked with Accenture, the Miami Workers' Center, Haymarket People's Fund, Senator Carol Mosely-Braun, and ABC News. She holds a dual degree in political science and broadcast journalism from Northwestern University.
She can be reached at palak_shah [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Formerly PRA's Associate Director, Dr. Nikhil Aziz is currently the Executive Director at Grassroots International, an organization that promotes global justice through partnerships with social change organizations. At PRA, he led a team that studied the conservative movement and the political Right in the United States, and for his doctoral dissertation and subsequent work, he researched popular movements and indigenous rights groups, focusing on India's National Alliance of People's Movements, an alliance of progressive movements for human rights and social and economic justice. As a gay, progressive, immigrant person of color, Nikhil has built collaborations with progressive activist and advocacy organizations nationwide and is a dynamic speaker, teacher and writer on human rights, development and social change. He is a member of the board of RESIST Inc., the Massachusetts Asians and Pacific Islanders for Health and Africa Today Associates.
PRA Researcher Pam Chamberlain is a veteran educator and trainer who works with both young people and adults. She has taught in middle school, high school, community college and university settings. She has been involved with peace and human rights activism for many years. Currently she helps schools and community groups handle right-wing resistance to multicultural education and programs for gay and lesbian students. She helped create four of PRA's Activist Resource Kits and is the author of "Deliberate Differences: Progressive and Conservative Activism in the United States," a major PRA report published in 2004. She maintains a commitment to making information about the political Right accessible to diverse audiences and to helping organizations plan effective strategies to fight the Right.