Rinku Sen

Recipient of the 2012 Compass Award

Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com. A leading figure in the racial justice movement, Rinku has positioned ARC as a national home for media, research and activism on these issues. Over the course of her career, she has combined journalism and activism to make social change. Rinku is the author of Stir It Up, a primer on best practices in community organizing, and The Accidental American, a book about Moroccan immigrant Fekkak Mamdouh, who co-founded the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York in the aftermath of September 11. Rinku lives in Queens, New York.

Previously, Rinku served as the Communications Director and the Director of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative at ARC. Prior to that, Rinku held various leadership roles at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), a national network of organizations of color, where she trained new organizers and crafted public policy campaigns from 1988-2000.Rinku is the Vice Chair of the Schott Foundation for Public Education and a Boardmember of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. She is the Chair of the Media Consortium, an association of progressive independent media outlets, and she sits on the boards of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Working America.

Rinku started her organizing career as a student activist at Brown University, fighting race, gender and class discrimination on campuses. She received a B.A. in Women’s Studies in 1988 and an M.S. in Journalism at Columbia University in 2005. A native of India, Rinku grew up in the northeastern factory towns, and learned to speak English in a two-room schoolhouse. She can often be found with a pair of knitting needles in her hands.