Sacramento Poderosa 2022
“Today I refuse to be silenced. Daily a clarion call for justice rings loudly and unabashedly in my soul as I rail against harsh and cruel immigration policies and other forms of oppression and inequities. La lucha sigue! It is resistance that rebuilds and heals.” –Dr. Rhonda Rios Kravitz
Dr. Rhonda Rios Kravitz is first and foremost an activist dedicated to fighting for social justice, educational equity, political and economic equity, immigrant rights, cessation of police brutality, and an end to this nation’s history of erasure, exclusion, and oppression. She was born in San Francisco, CA to a Mexican mother and Jewish father. Raised predominantly with her mother’s family members, she self identifies as Chicana. She earned a baccalaureate from University, Sacramento (CSUS), a Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and a Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. Her grandmother on her father’s side immigrated to the US from Kiev and her abuelos from her mother’s side immigrated from Mexico.
In 1987, after working as a medical librarian in Boston for eight and a half years, Dr. Rios Kravitz returned to Sacramento, California to become the Ethnic Services Consultant for the California State Library.. In that position she reached out to communities of color with grant programs to support community development and advocated for library collections, services, and programs that accurately and authentically reflected the cultural perspectives of diverse communities. Dr. Rhonda Rios Kravitz was recruited to CSUS in 1990 as a target of opportunity library faculty member where she was recognized as a leader in diversity and equity issues. From 2007-2014 she worked as the Dean of the Learning Resource Center at Sacramento City College and eventually retired to pursue her work on equity, diversity, and immigration issues full-time.
Dr. Rios Kravitz professional leadership in Chicana/o/x organizations is exemplified in her roles as a Past President of REFORMA, National Organization to Promote Library Services to the Spanish Speaking, and Past Chair of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS). Dr. Rios Kravitz is the recipient of numerous awards including the Dolores Huerta Activist Award from the Freedom Bound Center, Sacramento, the Faculty Excellence Award from El Concilio Estudiantes de Sacramento at CSUS, the Excellence Award from the Northern California FOCO of NACCS, and the I Love My Librarian! 2011 Award sponsored by The Carnegie Corporation of New York and New York Times. This award is bestowed upon outstanding nationally renowned public, school, and academic librarians. In 2014, Dr. Rios Kravitz was awarded the Women’s Appreciation Award by Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson for her work with DREAMERS. She was also the producer of the 2014 documentary developed by ALIANZA, We Are Not Strangers to this Land: Untold Stories of Dreamers (alianzadream.org/documentary) and the grant writer and researcher for the documentary, The Sacramento Chicano Movement: From Voiceless to Empowered (2017). Dr. Rios Kravitz was recently awarded the 2020 Colibri Award from the Sacramento Latino Democratic Club for her community activism.
Dr. Rios Kravitz looks to the writings and activism of women of color who grew up having been silenced, and marginalized for inspiration and courage. Authors such as Elizabeth (Betita) Martinez, Gloria Anzaldua, Cherri Moraga, Vicki Ruiz, Maria Hinojosa, bell hooks, Lori Flores, Aida Hurtado, Lorena Marquez, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Kimberle Crenshaw, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and others, who have used their voices of liberation to empower women of color to be heard and recognized.