Sarah Rigney graduated from UC Berkeley with high honors in Philosophy. Before coming to UC Berkeley, Sarah attended a community college in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, where she served as a Senator in student government and was an active member of the Sierra Foothills Young Democrats. She has also volunteered for the California Dreamers and the California Democratic Party State Convention. Sarah continued her passion for community organizing at Cal by serving as the undergraduate representative for the UC Berkeley Philosophy Department Equity Task Force (ETF). The ETF worked to address systemic barriers faced by women and underrepresented minorities in their pursuit of a Philosophy Major. Sarah created a Best Practices Guide for students and instructors and was credited with helping to create a more equitable environment in the Philosophy Department.
In her senior year, Sarah was selected as a Cal-in-Sac Fellow and worked for CA Senator Steven Glazer where she conducted policy research and held meetings with stakeholders on Education and Public Safety policies. She was honored with a California Resolution for her efforts. In spring 2020, she participated in the UCDC program where she interned in the office of Senator Kamala Harris, conducting research for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. During her time working in Senator Harris’s office, she also worked for the Congressional Black Caucus, handled constituent affairs, and attended meetings and briefings with stakeholders.
Sarah places great value on the creation of public policies that provide long-term improvements in people’s lives. She has a special interest in criminal justice reform. When Sarah was 13 years old, her older brother was incarcerated, and she joined the millions of American families whose lives are controlled by the American carceral state. These experiences cultivated a passion to reform the criminal justice system and seek opportunities to be an ally for marginalized communities. Through the Gardner Fellowship, Sarah is looking to contribute to the work of progressive California public policy, specifically in regard to criminal justice and educational opportunities.