- 1 Background
- 2 Radicalization
- 3 "A letter from the movement to the movement'
- 4 Black Student Alliance
- 5 "Survival Day 84"
- 6 Career
- 7 Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program
- 8 Transnational Racial Justice Initiative
- 9 The Praxis Project
- 10 War Times
- 11 Center for Labor Renewal
- 12 Africa Action involvement
- 13 US Social Forum National Planning Committee
- 14 Award
- 15 Ear to the Ground Project
- 16 CPA 40th anniversary
- 17 Kopkind Colony
- 18 RoadMap
- 19 #freedom50
- 20 Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity Advisory Board/2015
- 21 Maestre screening
- 22 Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing
- 23 Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward
- 24 Comrades
- 25 Publications
- 26 References
Makani Themba-Nixon assists with media and training for activist organizations. She is is founding Executive Director of The Praxis Project, a nonprofit organization helping communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health equity and justice. Current projects include Policy Advocacy on Tobacco and Health (PATH)— a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative to build tobacco control policy advocacy in communities of color; as well as numerous tools and resources that help people translate local problems into progressive, effective policy initiatives. She is the older sister of Robin D G Kelley.
Makani Themba grew up in New York, in the Harlem/Washington Heights area. Her mother was a single parent whose "politics were informed by her spiritual convictions". She was a member of the Self-Realization Fellowship. Paramahansa Yogananda.
"I was extremely fortunate to have been born to a mother and grandmother who are committed justice activists. My mom and my grandma were active in a number of movements during the 1960s including peace efforts, civil rights, quality education and trade unions. I was introduced to great books and speakers, ideas and actions that helped to shape who I am today. It is a constant reminder of the importance of relationships in movement building. Most of us join this work as the result of the personal invitation by someone we love and/or trust."
Makani Themba is executive director of The Praxis Project, a nonprofit organization helping communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health justice. Under her leadership, The Praxis Project has raised more than $20 million for advocacy organizations working in communities of color nationwide. Makani was previously director of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative (TRJI), an international project to build capacity among advocates to more effectively address structural racism and leverage tools and best practices from around the world. While at TRJI, she co-authored and edited a "shadow report" on institutional racism and white privilege – the first of its kind.
Prior to that, she directed the Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program (GRIPP) a national project to build capacity among local organizing groups to more effectively engage in media and policy advocacy to address institutional racism in welfare and public education. She was a staffer for the California State Legislature, served as media director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference/Los Angeles, and worked five years for the Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems, including three years as director of its Center for Media and Policy Analysis.
Makani has published numerous articles and case studies on race, class, media, policy advocacy and public health. She is author of Making Policy, Making Change, and co-author of Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention, a contributor to the volumes Community Based Participatory Research for Health, Prevention is Primary: Strategies for Community well Being, We the Media along with many other edited book projects. Her publications have helped set the standard for policy advocacy work and contributed significantly to the field’s current emphasis on media and policy advocacy to address health problems. She has also co-authored with Hunter Cutting is Talking the Walk: Communications Guide for Racial Justice. Her latest book, a collaboration under The Praxis Project with contributions from Malkia Cyril and others, is Fair Game: A Strategy Guide for Racial Justice Communications in the Obama Era.
- "Like a lot of young African Americans, especially growing up in New York City, where the Black Panther Party had a presence and had a free breakfast program in our area, where Black Nationalism was in the fabric of social life, you just can’t help it. Race becomes the dominant factor. It was not until I got to college and then listening to my sister, that we began to move towards Marxist/Leninist politics. That led both of us to join the Communist Workers Party. To go from the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party to the Communist Workers Party made sense in the early 1980s. It may not make sense to young people today."
Robin D. G. Kelley further elaborated on his, and his sister Makani Themba-Nixon's involvement with the Communist Workers Party, in "Wicked Theory, Naked Practice: A Fred Ho Reader", by Fred Wei-han Ho, foreword, page 2;
- Makani and i were especially sensitive to issues of Black-Asian unity, since we were both students at UCLA, where the Third World Coalition built strong ties between African American, Asian, and Latino students. And we were members of the communist Workers party...with strong roots in the Asian American and Black Liberation movements. We were as concerned about the racist murder of Vincent Chin as we were with the murders of Michael Stewart and Eleanor Bumpurs. But by 1986, were feeling thoroughly defeated. The Jesse Jackson campaign was supposed to be the Left's great moment to build a radical grassroots movement...Then the CWP imploded, shedding its Marxist base and re-inventing itself as the New Democratic Movement in 1985. The party adopted adopted the line that "knowledge workers", or left of liberal technocrats were the movement's future. Makani and I didn't stay much longer.
"A letter from the movement to the movement'
In September 2019 Makani Themba-Nixon was one of 100 black leaders, many affiliated with Liberation Road who signed A letter from the movement to the movement defending Maurice Moe Mitchell and Nelini Stamp of the Working Families Party for endorsing Elizabeth Warren instead of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
Black Student Alliance
Makani Themba January 2, 2014:
"Survival Day 84"
Approximately 3,500 marchers attended the "Survival Day 84" march and rally in McArthur Park Los Angeles Sunday August 5 1984.The event was the culmination of a week of disarmament and and anti-imperialist solidarity events known as "Survival Fest 84."
Makani Themba was previously director of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative (TRJI), an international project to build capacity among advocates to more effectively address structural racism and leverage tools and best practices from around the world. While at TRJI, she co-authored and edited a "shadow report" on institutional racism.
Prior to that she directed the Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program (GRIPP) a national project to build capacity among local organizing groups to more effectively engage in media and policy advocacy to address institutional racism in welfare and public education. She was a staffer for the California State Legislature, served as media director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference/Los Angeles, and worked five years for the Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems, including three years as director of its Center for Media and Policy Analysis.
Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program
Themba-Nixon directed the Grass Roots Innovative Policy Program, a national project to build capacity among local organizing groups to more effectively engage in media and policy advocacy to address institutional racism in welfare and public education.
Transnational Racial Justice Initiative
Makani was the director of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative, an international project to build capacity among advocates to more effectively address structural racism and leverage tools and best practices from around the world.
The Praxis Project
Themba-Nixon is Executive Director of The Praxis Project, a nonprofit organization helping communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health equity and justice. Current projects include Policy Advocacy on Tobacco and Health (PATH) - a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative to build tobacco control policy advocacy in communities of color.
Center for Labor Renewal
Africa Action involvement
US Social Forum National Planning Committee
Ear to the Ground Project
- We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:
Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
Makani Themba-Nixon was among those on the list. 
CPA 40th anniversary
On August 4th 2012 to celebrate Chinese Progressive Association (San Francisco)'s 40th Anniversary. CPA was proud to honor the National Guestworkers Alliance and New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, the Free MUNI for Youth Coalition, and Jobs with Justice San Francisco.
Rolland Lowe and Kathy Lowe • Grace Lee Boggs • Josue Arguelles • Supervisor John Avalos • Angelica Cabande • Supervisor David Campos • Mike Casey • Supervisor David Chiu • Antonio Diaz • Reverend Norman Fong • Conny Ford • Maria Guillen • Alicia Garza • Roger Kim • Supervisor Jane Kim • Helen Kim • Jee Kim • Mario Lugay • Supervisor Eric Mar • Gordon Mar • Alisa Messer • Luke Newton • Supervisor Christina Olague • Vincent Pan • Tim Paulson • Ai-jen Poo • Raquel Redondiez • Peggy Saika • Shiree Teng • Makani Themba-Nixon • Helena Wong • Miya Yoshitani
The Kopkind Colony Program Advisory Committee, as of 2015; The Kopkind Colony Honorary Board, as of 2015; Angela Ards, Fred Azcarate, Jennifer Berkshire, Pamela Bridgewater, Francis Calpotura, Margaret Cerullo, Tim Costello, Kim Diehl, Heidi Dorow, Scott Douglas, Theo Emery, Laura Flanders, Ku‘umeaaloha Gomes, Joe Grabarz, Jennifer Gordon, Pronita Gupta, Muna Hamzeh, Amber Hollibaugh, Mary Howell, Janine Jackson, Si Kahn, Robin D. G. Kelley, KipuKai Kuali‘i, Brad Lander, Eric Mann, Nikki Morse, Scot Nakagawa, Debbie Nathan, Amy Newell, Rev. James Orange, Robert Pollin, Verandah Porche, Luis Rodriguez, Deb Schwartz, Barbara Smith, Makani Themba-Nixon, Jerry Tucker
Makani Themba June 26, 2014
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity Advisory Board/2015
- Ron Chisom, The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
- Gihan Perera, New Florida Majority
- Richard Healey, Grassroots Policy Project
- Kalpana Krishnamurthy, RACE Program, Western States Center
- Marisa Franco, Director and Co-Creator Not1More Deportation Campaign; Mijente
- John A. Powell, Haas Diversity Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley
- Julie Quiroz-Martínez, Movement Strategy Center
- Rinku Sen, Applied Research Center/ColorLines Magazine
- Makani Themba-Nixon, The Praxis Project
- Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change
- Kien Lee, Community Science
- Martha McCoy, The Paul J. Aicher Foundation/Everyday Democracy
- Denise Perry, Director, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD)
- Glenn Harris, President Center for Social Inclusion
- Maria Poblet, Executive Director Causa Justa/Just Cause
Catherine Murphy October 24, 2016:
Howard University Education Department will present Maestra this Thursday at 2pm - free & open to the public!
Come on over friends in the DMV! — with James Early, Kymone Tecumseh Freeman, Medea Benjamin, John Lists, Deborah Menkart, Paul Ortiz, Makani Themba, Karen Hampton, Karen Mafundikwa, Doris Derby, Luisa Crespo, Talaya Grimes, Annette Martin, Rhone Fraser, Mimi Machado-Luces, Saad Hayes Sodaye, Matthew White, Lisa Brock, Netfa Freeman, Sira Orozco, Luisa Campos, Eve Goldberg, Luci Murphy, Alison Kibbe, Curtis Muhammad, Mwiza C K Munthali, Mia Henry, Michelle Darden Lee, Alli Jarrar, Banbose Shango, Shah Boo and U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration at Howard University.
Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing
Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.
- What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.
Those invited, on Facebook included Makani Themba-Nixon.
Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward
Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.
- Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?
- This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.
Those invited, on Facebook included Makani Themba-Nixon.
Cazembe Jackson September 24, 2017:
Makani Themba I am so grateful to God and the ancestors for your birth. You are the grounding energy that I never knew I needed in my life. So encouraging and loving. Your food is always delicious and your conversation intriguing. Thank you for loving me as well as you do. Our movement is better daily because of your contributions to it. You are not just a wonderful mother to your own children but to all of us. I can't wait to continue building our tender friendship. Happy birthday! I love you with my whole heart. ❤️🖤💚 — with Jaribu Hill, Makani Themba and Efia Nwangaza.
Makani has published numerous articles and case studies on race, media, policy advocacy and public health.
- Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention (co-author)
- Making Policy, Making Change (Jossey-Bass publishers), This book examines media and policy advocacy for public health through case studies and practical information.
- We the Media
- State of the Race: Creating Our 21st Century
- RoadMap bio
- [Information Digest, August 17 1984 page 243, 244]
- The Praxis Project website
- WAR TIMES January 29, 2002
- Ear to the Ground, About, accessed Nov. 12, 2015
- Chinese Progressive Association, Together We Move Mountains :: Celebrating Generations of Change
- Kopkind board, 2015
- Kopkind board, 2015
- RoadMap bio
- PRE Advisory Board 2015
- FB Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing Went 109