Dr. Richards is the founding director of the Sankofa Research Institute (SRI), a nonprofit with a mission to “create knowledge to build community.” SRI employs community-based participatory research to work collaboratively with academic researchers, community organizations and funders to generate empirical evidence to inform social change. Some of SRI’s current and past project partners include Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Houston’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Dance Source Houston, East Harris County Empowerment Council, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and CHRISTUS Health Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s and a doctoral degree from Pennsylvania State University. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, teaching courses in the sociology department and the arts leadership program. As a community engagement specialist, she has conducted workshops with ArtPlace, Design Futures, National Endowment for the Arts, Surdna Foundation, the Trust for Public Land, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ground Solutions. As a public sociologist, Dr. Richards serves as the Board President of the newly formed Houston Community Land Trust and the Emancipation Economic Development Council, a community-led effort to “Inspire Hope and Contribute to the Revitalization and Preservation of the Third Ward.”

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