Activists to Watch: Sarita Gupta

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At the Jobs with Justice national conference, Sarita Gupta speaks at a demonstration outside the Washington, DC, offices of Wal-Mart on Aug. 5, 2011. (Photo Credit: Rick Reinhard 2011)

Sarita Gupta is the executive director of Jobs With Justice (JWJ). With offices in 25 states and 45 communities, JWJ collaborates with community, student and faith organizations to build a vital labor movement for economic and social justice.

Gupta’s career as an organizer began as a student at Mt. Holyoke College. In 1996 she was elected president of the US Student Association, the nation’s oldest and largest grass-roots legislative student organization. In that position, she represented more than 3.5 million students nationwide at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and at the Department of Education. She joined JWJ in 2004 as a national field organizer and then headed the group’s Chicago office before being named executive director.

JWJ’s organizing efforts include campaigns to protest unjust deportations in Phoenix, fighting unsafe living and working conditions among Jamaican guest workers in Florida, organizing fast food workers around the country to launch a one-day strike in July to protest poverty-level wages, and holding a 24-hour fast outside the New York City penthouse of Wal-Mart board member Michelle Burns to protest the corporation’s abuse of its employees.

Gupta is also the co-director of Caring Across Generations, a coalition of 200 advocacy groups that seeks to provide quality care and dignity for aging Americans, as well as their caregivers.

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