Alaí Reyes-Santos

Associate Director
PNW Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice

Dr. Alaí Reyes-Santos is an independent scholar and consultant. She teaches as a Professor of Practice at U of Oregon’s School of Law and is the Associate Director of the PNW Just Futures Institute for Climate and Racial Justice. She worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies at U of Oregon until Fall 2021. She is also the founder of ACC, a BIPOC-led consulting firm that facilitates organizational transformations and community engagement in the non-profit sector, government, higher ed, and social and environmental justice organizations. ACC’s team offers an approach to social and environmental justice, and conflict resolution, grounded in ancestral healing practices that serve the individual and the collective. Dr. Reyes-Santos currently serves in Oregon’s Racial Justice Council’s Environmental Equity Committee.

Her training as an Iya, water priestess, and founder of the AfroIndigenous ceremonial community Ilé Estrella de los Mares, informs how she leads research and conversations about social violence, power, and solidarity as community healing processes. Dr. Reyes Santos is certified in the ThetaHealing Technique, a meditation practice that she deploys to support individuals engaged in processes of self- and community healing and empowerment. She has experience accompanying people working in academia, health care, public service, social and environmental justice advocacy, and the arts. An award winning teacher, her Ted-talk “Building Intercultural Communities” is used in higher ed and popular education to initiate guidelines for dialogue across difference.

In the United States and internationally, Dr. Reyes-Santos has collaborated with the Organization of American States, School Garden Project, Huerto de la Familia, Centro Bonó, Centro Latinoamericano, NAACP, Mobilize Green, the City of Eugene Climate Change Action Plan, City of Eugene’s Middle Housing Equity Roundtable, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, U of Oregon’s Teaching Effectiveness Program, among others. She provides holistic support to individuals completing writing projects and undergoing career transformations in the academic sector.

Dr. Reyes-Santos is the author of Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neoliberal Antilles. Her bylines include: Bilingual Review, La Razón, Centro Journal, Revue Européene des Migrations Internationales, Callaloo Journal, Revista Estudios Sociales, HipLatina, and the emergency-response digital storytelling site: The UO Puerto Rico Project: Hurricane Maria and Its Aftermath. The digital humanities project Caribbean Women Healers: Decolonizing Knowledge Within AfroIndigenous traditions-with Dr. Ana-Maurine Lara-showcases interviews with healers, ethnobotanical resources, and curriculum and bibliographical resources. It is currently being re-conceptualized to engage Indigenous and Black healers and traditional ecological knowledge keepers in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. She has a monthly column in The Register Guard. Her current books-in-progress propose a Black Diasporic approach to betrayals among kin emerging from racial, gender and environmental violence.

The community-action research project she co-leads as a member of Oregon Water Futures Collaborative contributes to the articulation of a water justice agenda in the state and nationwide. Its coordination team is facilitated by Verde, Coalition of Communities of Color, Oregon Environmental Council, Willamette Partnership, and University of Oregon. OWF’s 2021 report on water justice was possible through active collaborations with community outreach partners: Chinook Indian Nation, PCUN, Euvalcree, NAACP, and Unite Oregon. After supporting a 330 million dollars water package, OWF moves to its second outreach phase in 2022.

Dr. Reyes Santos completed her BA in Humanities at University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez; and her MA and PhD at University of California, San Diego.