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Shakya Cherry-Donaldson

Shakya is the Founder and Executive Director of 1000 Women Strong.

"I was inspired to found the 1000 Women Strong organization because I saw an urgent need to establish a national constituency of Black women who are creating a network of the millions of Black women that are building the "beloved community," by engaging in civic, community and electoral campaigns.” 

Her Story

She is a South Bronx, NY native where she worked as a community organizer, political operative, and teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Africana Studies from Franklin & Marshall College and traveled extensively. She taught English in South Korea for two years. She earned a Masters of Art in Political Economy from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Upon returning to the U.S. Shakya took up residence in Nashville, TN, where she worked under Marian Wright Edelman at the Children’s Defense Fund organizing communities to disrupt and dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline throughout the South. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of Black women and children with organizations including Fellowship of Reconciliation, National PTA, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the National Black Law School Students Association, and Casey Family Programs.


In 2016, Shakya began focusing on work in Electoral Justice and has worked on issue based and candidate campaigns in 13 states including Deputy Field Director-Statewide for Stacey Abrams for Governor of Georgia during the historic primary. Starting her own consulting company she continued to work with progressive groups and marginalized folx before pivoting during the 2020 election cycle and founding 1000 Women Strong.

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