“My personal motto is to live every day inspired; to be inspired and to be inspiring,” said 37-year-old Supriya Pillai, Global Fund for Women’s newest and youngest board member.
Supriya accepts the invitation to join Global Fund’s international board knowing her participation is more than just a fiduciary responsibility.
“We are amassed as a group of learners and advisors,” said Supriya. “It is such an honor to be asked, but also a responsibility as someone who cares about the women’s movement.”
This Is My Life
Supriya’s parents moved from India to Chicago before she was born. She visited her family in India often and when she turned 19, Supriya spent the summer in the Himalayas at a rural women’s cooperative.
“Whatever this is, working with these women, this is my life,” Supriya remembered saying to herself at 19. “Learning about their struggles and seeing how they organized really sparked something in me.”
When she moved to New York City in the late nineties, she became a writer for a hip-hop magazine and worked in politics. But her activism jumped to the next level when she met young people, whom she now calls her US comrades, organizing around police brutality issues.
Like a true human rights activist, she didn’t stop there. When she finished graduate school, she went to rural villages and cities in Guinea West Africa to work with women on economic rights and development.
“I’m very politically left, so I had theory up the wazoo about post-colonialism, but to put it in practice was another thing,” said Supriya. “I didn’t see [my role] as I was coming to help people; rather, how can I as an outsider work with folks in the global south?”
A Changing World
Supriya answers that very question every day as Senior Fellow and previous Executive Director of the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing, where she strengthens youth organizing and grassroots movements throughout the world.
“The world is changing and those most impacted by inequities are growing in numbers and they will be the largest voice,” said Supriya. “I hope that the many worlds I straddle will benefit the future of Global Fund for Women.”