Jinath Tasnim is a 1.5 generation Bangali-American, educator, community builder, social movement dreamer, and nonprofit swiss army knife. Proudly raised in an immigrant hub of North Texas, Jinath has spent this past decade building lasting relationships and weaving resilient communities in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
Most recently, she served as the Community-Engaged Learning Coordinator with St. Catherine University, a historical women’s institution where she weaved together Twin Cities’ nonprofit partner needs with college course objectives for mutual and public benefit. In this role, she provided consultation to her faculty colleagues across all academic disciplines on how to best teach community-engaged courses, while activating her background and strong relationships within the nonprofit sector to connect St. Kate’s students to Minnesota’s impressive social service network. She also facilitates classroom discussions on social change and is actively involved in national networks dedicated to the community engagement field in higher education. In 2022, Jinath was a Fellow through the Place-Based Justice Network’s BIPOC Leadership Collective, a national cohort of professionals of color providing thought leadership to the field.
Jinath credits her skills and deep love of community-building within the Twin Cities to the Sisters of St. Joseph, the radical order of nuns who founded St. Catherine University, from whom she learned love of dear neighbor during her service-year in the St. Joseph Worker Program- a leadership, spirituality, and service program for young women. Through it she had opportunities like attending the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations as a delegate and also began her nonprofit career at The Advocates for Human Rights, a legal nonprofit comprising of primarily-female lawyers fighting for asylum seekers in MN, and the rights of women, LGBTQ peoples, and other marginalized groups across the world. Here she began acquiring her vast nonprofit skillset through various roles in volunteer coordination, organizational effectiveness, communications, and education.
Between that and her most recent role bringing her full circle to St. Kate’s, Jinath spent a few lovely years as a youth worker with Girl Scouts River Valleys, where she facilitated culturally responsive leadership programming to 200+ girls of color in Minneapolis Public Schools and beyond and led her company through diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives as a DEI Ambassador. Jinath identifies as a lifelong educator in the broadest sense: whether teaching social-emotional skills to youth, social change theory to college students, or solidarity movement history to fellow BIPOC adults, she is always able to express complex concepts accessibly to all.
Outside of work, Jinath is a leader in local Twin Cities racial justice and healing work. In 2020-21, she created a virtual program series called “By Us, For Us” to connect Asian American healers and wellness practitioners to the greater Asian Minnesotan community to address the effects of rising xenophobia and social isolation during Covid-19. This work was sparked through her involvement with groups like Pan-Asian Voices for Equity (PAVE-MN) and Coalition of Asian American Leaders. Jinath is passionate about BIPOC healing as key to liberation and dreams of leading retreats and connecting more BIPOC to the outdoors.
A lover of places and spaces, Jinath has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Macalester College. As an undergraduate, Jinath got to practice bringing her dreams into reality through her employment at the Department for Multicultural Life where she worked with peers to envision any justice-oriented event, program, or conversation they wanted to see on campus and bring to life. This engendered her passion for holding conversations across difference and upon graduation she received a Presidential Leadership Award for her contributions to the institution. She also studied abroad in Ecuador where she interned at a government center for people with disabilities, assisting with various therapies during the day and writing about disability rights as protected by the Ecuadorian constitution by night.
Jinath knows that she is intended to lead people and teams with compassion and expansive vision. As a NUF Fellow, Jinath aspires to explore beyond the education and nonprofit spheres and learn the language of much of the world’s population- business!- to move closer to this destiny and hopes to build bridges across all spectrums of identities to continue her coalition and movement-building work.