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Human Resources Department

Commission on Human Rights

Maria Barakat

Maria Barakat

Maria Barakat (she/they), MPP, is a Lebanese/Palestinian American born and raised in the US South, and a Sonoman since 2015. In 2017, Maria returned to higher education after spending almost 18 years as a project manager, small business owner, and chef in culinary spaces in Colorado, Oklahoma, Mexico and California. She earned her Associates Degree in Sociology from the Santa Rosa Junior College, a Bachelor’s in Sociology of Law and Society with a minor in Political Science from UC Davis, and finally, a Masters of Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School in 2023.

She’s currently the Program Manager for Transformative Racial Equity at a Bay Area climate and economic equity policy institute that works to build a world where race no longer determines one’s health and wellbeing. She’s a consultant for the California Racial Equity Commission in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Maria is a core organizing member of the California Racial Equity Coalition and sits on the Policy Working Group of the California Organizations for Reparations.

From 2021-2023, Maria worked for UC Berkeley Law School’s Policy Advocacy Clinic, as researcher and policy analyst. During this period, she worked on policy and legislative avenues to abolish harmful fees and fines in California and the US that harm racialized and low income families disproportionately, often entrenching lifetimes of disadvantage and inequity.

From 2022-2023, she worked for the UCSF Homelessness and Housing Initiative as a researcher on the largest landscape analysis homelessness in the State to date.

From 2022-2023, she worked for the Public Health Institute’s State of Equity program, conducting the largest landscape study and analysis of government-level racial equity processes in the country (Here) in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, The CA Strategic Growth Council, and CA Department of Finance. She continues to develop current, innovative, effective strategies for state and local jurisdictions, and other organizations, to make racial equity REAL and felt in the lives of Californians.