April 29, 2019

Naomi Ishisaka, a veteran journalist, photographer and communications specialist with a passion for racial equity and social justice, will give the keynote address at the June 13 graduation celebration for the School of Social Work.

Ishisaka is currently communications director for Social Justice Fund NW, a grassroots foundation based in Seattle that is working on the front lines of social change. In 2018, SJF celebrated its 40thanniversary and over the decades, it has awarded $18.5 million in grants to community organizations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  

Before joining SJF, Ishisaka was communications director at Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 775, which represents more than 45,000 care workers in Washington and Montana. Before that, she was communications director at the immigrant rights organization, OneAmerica.

For eight years, Ishisaka served as editor-in-chief of the award-winning magazine ColorsNW, a monthly publication that highlighted communities of color and illuminated issues important to that community through thought-provoking content. As a documentary photographer, her work on the Seattle Black Lives Matter movement has been featured in a number of shows and galleries as well as in the documentary film, The 13th.

Ishisaka has received many awards and honors. She was a fellow with the International Center for Journalists Community Health Reporting, the Institute for Justice and Journalism Studies Program, and the World Affairs Council.  In 2005, she was selected as an American Marshall Memorial Fellow, one of 50 chosen nationwide by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, enabling her to travel to Denmark, Italy, Hungary, France and Belgium on a cross-cultural exchange.

A popular speaker, she’s spoken at more than 150 conferences and events, and was featured on the Seattle Channel’s program, “Seattle Voices.”

The School’s graduation celebration will take place Thursday, June 13 at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The program runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and includes a welcome, award recognitions and the keynote address, followed by the graduation celebration. A reception will follow. No tickets are required; doors open at 6 p.m.