Brenda Choresi Carter directs The Reflective Democracy Campaign, which analyzes and disrupts the demographics of power in the United States. An initiative of the Women Donors Network, the Campaign conducts groundbreaking research that shines a light on the exclusion of women and people of color from political leadership, and catalyzes activism and scholarship aimed at achieving a democracy where everyone has a seat at the table. The Campaign’s work has been featured in news media across the country and internationally, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New Yorker, Slate, Time, and NPR. She has appeared on The Chris Hayes Show on MSNBC, The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, and numerous other outlets, and has presented at conferences and institutes across the U.S. and internationally.
Trained as both an academic and an organizer, Brenda brings a wealth of specialized knowledge and research to her work as an advocate for equality and justice. She served as an organizer and strategist in the labor movement for over a decade, starting her organizing work as a rank-and-file leader of an organizing drive among her fellow teaching and research assistants at Yale University. Under her leadership, graduate teachers and researchers at Yale went on strike to challenge poor working conditions and protect academic freedom. She also brought her organizing and strategic expertise to other labor struggles in higher education, including at New York University.
Brenda moved on to serve as special assistant to the president at UNITE HERE, the union of workers in the hospitality industry. At UNITE HERE she helped to lead a nationwide effort to empower a workforce constituted overwhelmingly by immigrants, people of color, and women. In a previous position at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Brenda led an investigation into one of the largest sexual harassment cases in the agency’s history.
Her extensive involvement in issues critical to working people and underrepresented populations informs Brenda’s teaching. As a visiting faculty member in the American Studies Department at Brown University and in the Wesleyan University Center for Prison Education, Brenda teaches courses on work, culture, and the economy, providing a real-world perspective on contemporary American society.
Brenda earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University and a B.A. in English and Government from Georgetown University. She serves as a board member of FairVote and the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund. A proud native of Minnesota, she lives in Connecticut.