Current Leader

Raji Ganesan

Raji Ganesan
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Cohort Start Year: 2019 Project Topics: Arts in Health and Healing, Behavioral and Mental Health, Education, Racial Justice, Violence and Trauma Populations Served: Adolescents (12-20 years), Children (6-11 years), Children and Families, Low-Income Communities, Urban Communities
Community Educator/Artist/Facilitator
Youth Empowerment Project

Classrooms serving marginalized youth in Phoenix, Ariz., should center safety, healing, justice, critical thinking, and community wisdom. By design, in Phoenix and all over the U.S., classrooms serving predominantly Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, and Refugee youth are sites of hostility and criminalization. As levels of trauma experienced by young people and their families compounds, schools must respond to the physical & emotional needs of students with intention and care. With expertise in teaching, organizing, facilitation, performing, and healing arts, Raji collaborates with various schools, teachers, families, health workers, and community organizations to mentor young people, train teachers, and shift consciousness around what folks believe is possible in schools and youth-serving organizations.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Multidimensional Creative Wellness Center for Young People & Families
Living in the United States means that the health and wellness of poor black folks, indigenous folks, young folks, and immigrant communities is constantly under attack. We cannot expect the state to respond adequately to the health concerns of marginalized people because it was built to fulfill the conditions of violence resulting from colonization, displacement, and genocide. I propose a multidimensional creative wellness center meant to offer community-centered classes, workshops, performances, and one-on-one healing sessions centering young people, families, and teachers rooted in ancestral practices and revolutionary politics. RE:Frame Youth Arts Center has recently acquired a new space that is larger and can accommodate more people at safe distances. This new space would be the site for the multidimensional creative wellness center. My strategic initiative will develop partnerships with rotating teachers and healing facilitators as well as make key investments in equipment and space decorating to ensure that the center has sustainable, revenue-generating streams of uses so that it may thrive and develop its own ecosystem.

Raji is the daughter of Tamil immigrants from South India, a tenacious sister, and a really fun aunt. She supports the Health & Wellness programming at ReFrame Youth Arts Center in South Phoenix. Whether it’s through the facilitation of yoga & meditation, restorative justice & de-escalation, or growing & cooking food, Raji believes in the full-spirited grassroots vision of community health that taps into our wisdom and intuition, outside of institutional barriers. She centers the transformative power of love, creative expression, self-determination, authentic reflection, and deep listening in her life and work.

Click here to watch Raji’s Legacy Project video.