NAACP’s Niaz Kasravi on Criminal Justice

In advance of the NAACP’s 8th Annual Leadership 500 Summit, which will hit Destin, Florida, May 24 through 27, we sat down with the New Guard of the 103-year-old civil rights organization to discuss the biggest issues impacting African Americans today and what we can do about them. These five dynamic young women are leading the march toward equality in these decidedly turbulent times. Today, we talk to Niaz Kasravi, Ph.D., Director of the Criminal Justice Program.

Name: Niaz Kasravi, Ph.D.
Age: 38
Title: Director, Criminal Justice Program
Joined NAACP staff in: 2010
Previous NAACP Position: Senior Manager, Criminal Justice Program

Loop 21: What drew you to work with NAACP?

Kasravi: I was born in Iran and grew up there until I was ten. I witnessed a revolution and suppression by the government of my country of birth. I came to the United States, like most immigrants, looking at it as a land of equality, justice and opportunity. And granted, we have a system that is far better than many others around the world. But as I grew up and learned about the inherent and systematic injustices of our system, I became passionate about working to change these disparities. We have the opportunity to do that here, and the work that the NAACP does — and has done for over a hundred years — is a true symbol of that unique American opportunity to advocate for progress and create change.

Loop 21: What is your background in the criminal justice arena?

Kasravi: I have a Ph. D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine. What drew me to this work was the glaring injustices of the system that perhaps on its face look like it is treating everyone equally, but in application, discriminates against African Americans, other people of color and the poor.

Click here for the full interview with Niaz Kasravi.