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Barbara Van Kerkhove

Barbara Van Kerkhove is humbled to be part of an amazing and dedicated group of people supporting the work of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. The Institute’s values of nonviolence, racial justice, and environmental sustainability align with her own.

Barb has come to understand the power of nonviolence and racial justice through: her years of study of Nonviolent Communication™ (NVC) and the work of Miki Kashtan; studying the writings and work of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, and other racial justice advocates; and via her work to address structural racism and understand her own implicit biases. Barb has been a student of and advocate for environmental sustainability since reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring when she was a teen. Barb and her family practice environmental stewardship in a myriad of ways, including eating a vegetarian diet, living close to work, and supporting locally-owned, environmentally and socially responsible farms and businesses. They understand that practices like these are now more important in this time of climate disruption.

Barb is a researcher/policy analyst at Empire Justice Center where she conducts research on and advocates for fair access to affordable and responsible financial services, particularly for lower income families and black and brown communities. She also is a long-time member of the Community Task Force on School Climate, a unique partnership between Rochester City School District students, parents, staff, and the community to reduce the number of and disparities in suspensions and to improve the climate in which students learn.

Barb received her Ph.D. from the University at Albany, SUNY. She and her family reside in the South Wedge neighborhood of Rochester.