Dr. Alaí Reyes-Santos is an independent scholar and consultant. Recent awards include: 2020 Woman of Recognition (NAACP Eugene-Springfield); 2021 Mellon Foundation Just Futures Grant; 2022 Racial Equity and Sustainability Collaborations Award (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education); 2022 Honorable Mention, Best Public Projects (Latin American Studies Association Digital Scholarship Section); 2022 Excellence in Teaching Sustainability (U of Oregon); 2022 Dominican Studies Institute Fellow.
At University of Oregon, she has three roles: Professor of Practice at U of Oregon's School of Law; Director of the Mellon Foundation-funded (4.5 million) PNW Just Futures Institute for Climate and Racial Justice; and Community Engagement Lead at the Environment Initiative. An award winning teacher, her Ted-talk “Building Intercultural Communities” is used in higher ed and popular education to initiate guidelines for dialogue across difference.
She is also the founder of ACC, a BIPOC-led consulting firm that facilitates organizational transformations and community engagement in the non-profit sector, government, higher ed, and social and environmental justice organizations. ACC is currently a named partner in the Environmental Justice Technical Assistant Center funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to serve Region 10.
Dr. Reyes-Santos currently serves in Oregon's Racial Justice Council's Environmental Equity Committee providing recommendations to the Office of the Governor. She also recently joined Willamette Partnerships' team as Adjunct Faculty.
The community-action research project she co-founded and co-led for four years as a member of Oregon Water Futures Collaborative contributes to the articulation of a water justice agenda in the state and nationwide. After supporting a 530 million dollars water package, OWF moved to its second outreach phase in 2022 and completed a Water Justice Policy Framework; the framework informed the Drought Package passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2023, and a Water Justice Leadership Institute led by Verde. The innovative Water Justice Network emerging from within OWF's advocacy centers people of color, women, and queer leadership in the water sector. Dr. Reyes-Santos is currently featured by Color of Water: Top Directory of BIPOC Water Experts. In 2023, in a competitive process, she was selected to be in the planning committee for the National Academies of Sciences' “Integrating the Human Sciences to Scale Societal Responses to Environmental Change" workshop.
Dr. Reyes-Santos is the author of Our Caribbean Kin: Race and Nation in the Neoliberal Antilles. Her bylines include: Bilingual Review, La Razón, Centro Journal, Revue Européene des Migrations Internationales, Callaloo Journal, Revista Estudios Sociales, HipLatina, and the emergency-response digital storytelling site: The UO Puerto Rico Project: Hurricane Maria and Its Aftermath.
The digital humanities project Caribbean Women Healers: Decolonizing Knowledge Within AfroIndigenous traditions-with Dr. Ana-Maurine Lara and U of Oregon Libraries-showcases interviews with healers, ethnobotanical resources, and curriculum and bibliographical resources. It is currently being re-conceptualized to engage Indigenous and Black healers and traditional ecological knowledge keepers in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. She had a monthly column in The Register Guard. Her current articles and book-in-progress propose a Black Diasporic approach to betrayals among kin emerging from racial, gender and environmental violence.
In the United States and internationally, Dr. Reyes-Santos has collaborated with the Organization of American States, School Garden Project, Huerto de la Familia, Centro Bonó, Centro Latinoamericano, NAACP, Mobilize Green, the City of Eugene Climate Change Action Plan, City of Eugene's Middle Housing Equity Roundtable, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, Chinook Indian Nation, Unite Oregon, PCUN, Euvalcree, Verde, Coalition of Communities of Color, Oregon Environmental Council, Willamette Partnership, U of Oregon's Teaching Effectiveness Program, among others.
Her training as an Iya, water steward, and co-founder of the AfroIndigenous ceremonial and environmental stewardship community Bohio Cibanani, informs how she leads research and conversations about social violence, power, and solidarity as community healing processes. Dr. Reyes Santos is certified in the ThetaHealing Technique, a meditation practice that she deploys to support individuals engaged in processes of self- and community healing and empowerment. She has experience accompanying people working in academia, health care, public service, social and environmental justice advocacy, and the arts. She provides holistic support to individuals completing writing projects and undergoing career transformations in the academic sector.
Dr. Reyes Santos completed her BA in Humanities at University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez; and her MA and PhD at University of California, San Diego.