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Making Philadelphia a National Model for Participatory Defense
Raj Jayadev is a community organizer and criminal justice advocate. He recently served as a Stoneleigh Fellow with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where he instituted the practice of participatory defense into the family court system.
Raj is co-founder of Silicon Valley De-Bug, a storytelling, community organizing, and advocacy nonprofit based in San Jose, California. He started the organization while working as a temporary employee at an assembly plant in Silicon Valley. Without a union or any formal organizational support, he helped the Silicon Valley’s least-heard workforce create a collective public voice through community media platforms. Silicon Valley De-Bug has since become a leading voice in community activism, using Raj’s multimedia platforms, advocacy, and community organizing to spread social change messages and engage in community-building.
As an outgrowth of his organizing and advocacy work, Raj has become a nationally recognized pioneer in criminal defense reform. He is a 2010 Soros Justice Fellow, a 2015 Ashoka Fellow, a 2015 Leading Edge Fellow, a 2017 Stanford Entrepreneur in Residence, and a 2018 MacArthur Fellow. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Time, NPR, PBS, The Atlantic, and various other news outlets.
Raj holds a BA in political science from the University of California-Los Angeles.