Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Fania E. Davis came of age in the 1950s, during the social ferment of the civil rights era. Two close childhood friends were murdered in the 1963 Sunday School bombing by the Ku Klux Klan. This crystallized within her a passionate commitment to social transformation, and, for the next decades, she was active in the civil rights, Black power, Black students’, women’s, prisoners’, anti-apartheid, and socialist movements. Currently, she is an activist in the international restorative justice movement.
She is currently Executive Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth.
In the more than two and one-half decades since receiving her law degree from University of California, Berkeley, Ms. Davis has been a civil rights trial lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area with a subspecialty in academic discrimination litigation. During the mid-1990s, Ms. Davis entered a Ph.D. program in indigenous studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies and studied with indigenous elders around the globe, including from South Africa. Since receiving her Ph.D. in 2003, Ms. Davis has been teaching and writing about indigenous peacemaking and restorative justice, and speaking internationally on the subjects. She is presently engaged with local activists in introducing restorative approaches to reduce youth violence in Oakland and with international activists in South Africa and South America to develop restorative justice processes to heal the wounds of war in Colombia. Currently, she is also developing a project to research and write about African indigenous justice, how it might deepen and inform contemporary restorative justice, and how such processes might be applied to heal historic and ongoing mass social harm in North America.
The mother of two adult daughters and three grandchildren, Ms. Davis lives and continues to practice law in Oakland, California.