Amita Swadhin is an LA-based, NYC-bred educator, storyteller, activist and consultant dedicated to fighting interpersonal and institutional violence against young people. She believes change makers have a responsibility to involve directly-affected constituents in crafting solutions to social problems, and that these solutions must include an intersectional analysis of oppression, power and privilege. Her commitments and approach to this work stem from her experiences as a queer woman of color, daughter of immigrants, and survivor of child abuse.
Since 2012, Amita has been the Los Angeles Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange, a national nonprofit organization giving teens the knowledge and skills to make healthy decisions by training college student volunteers to present a comprehensive health curriculum in public high schools lacking health education. She is also the co-producer and co-host of a weekly radio show on KPFK Los Angeles called Flip the Script, and serves on the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Advisory Council of Peace Over Violence.
Prior to relocating to Los Angeles, Amita was the coordinator and a cast member of Secret Survivors, a theater project she conceived of for Ping Chong & Co., an award-winning performance company in New York City, featuring child sexual abuse survivors telling their stories through dramatic narrative. The production has been performed live for over 1,000 people, and a documentary based on the show was released on DVD, along with a corresponding educational toolkit, in October 2012. Five projects replicating the show, featuring other survivors in communities across the country, are now in production.
She is a frequent speaker and training facilitator at colleges, conferences and community organizations nationwide, and has expertise on a number of topics including: power, privilege and social justice; institutional and interpersonal violence; child sexual abuse prevention, intervention, and healing; youth activism; the arts as a tool for social change; and issues concerning LGBTQ, immigrant, and people of color communities. Amita also enjoys writing poetry and personal and political essays. Her writing has been featured in a number of anthologies and blogs, including pieces created while serving as the 2011 People of Color Media Initiatives Fellow at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
Her work as a consultant has built on over a decade of experience as a program manager, educator, trainer and community organizer in low-income, immigrant and LGBTQ communities of color in Los Angeles and New York City, including full-time positions at Global Kids, Make the Road NY, and Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), and service as the final Board Chair of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, a national organization advocating for and with LGBTQ youth.
Amita has received various honors and awards for her work as media maker, advocate and spokesperson. In 2011, she was selected to participate in the School for Creative Activism and GLAAD’s National People of Color Media Institute. In 2010, she attended the 49th Annual Academy of Achievement, and was awarded grants from the Asian Women Giving Circle and NYU’s Center for Multicultural Education & Programs to support her work against child sexual abuse. In 2006, she was selected to participate in the ACTIVATE! Transformative Organizing Fellowship, and the PASE Ascent program, and received the Womyn Warrior Award from Casa Atabex Ache in honor of her anti-violence and youth organizing work. She holds a Master in Public Administration degree from NYU, where she was a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.