Through college, jobs, and graduate school in health policy and management, Shammara Wright ’04 has moved in one direction — toward supporting racial equity. She’s committed to improving the lives of Black and brown people.
“I think that’s the narrative of my entire career working on anti-poverty issues, working on public health issues,” she says.
She’s been director of Health Education Projects for the New York City Department of Education; senior advisor with the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity; senior manager of after-school programs with the Points of Light Foundation; and program coordinator of The After-School Corp.’s Building Healthy Communities Program. She earned her master’s degree at the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Until recently, she was senior associate at Living Cities, a collaborative of foundations and financial institutions. Part of its focus is to help cities institute anti-racism policies and practices that foster accountability in their communities. “A lot of the most important work I’ve done is helping people realize, no matter the position they’re in, that they can utilize the power they have to leverage change,” she says.
Wright just took a new position as a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she’ll continue to use her “racial equity lens” and continue public health work.
Read about other alumni who are making an impact in their professions and communities throughout the world.
With all that’s happened recently in the U.S. — the Black Lives Matter movement, the murder of George Floyd, racial disparities exposed during the pandemic — Wright has seen a rise in the number and depth of conversations about race.
”I think everybody recognizes that as a country, we’re in a place where people are having to reckon with race and racism,” she says. “I am optimistic that conversations will turn into actions that better people’s lives.”