Policy & Social Justice Division Overview
HRC's Policy & Social Justice Division collaborates closely with other governmental agencies, community based organizations, and members of the community to address a wide range of civil rights and other related social justice issues affecting the residents of San Francisco.
Policy Division Staff
Zoë Polk, Deputy Director
Zoë Polk is a California and District of Columbia licensed attorney with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctorate from St. John's University School of Law. Ms. Polk oversees the agency's training and policy on systematic bias and racial equity, enforcement of the Fair Chance ordinance, recruitment and curriculum for the HRC Law Clinic and HRC’s examination of the War on Drugs. She also represents the department on the steering committee for the Governing for Racial Equity Network and the California Human Relations Organization. As the lead trainer for HRC's Diversity, Sensitivity, and Cultural-Competency Trainings, she has conducted trainings all over the city and state, including at the Practising Law Institute, the San Francisco Federal Building, and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Before joining HRC, Ms. Polk focused on federal civil rights litigation and taught law at UC Hastings and the East Bay Community Law Center. In addition, Ms. Polk has worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and served as a consultant to the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. Ms. Polk has lectured at various institutions including UC Santa Cruz, Golden Gate University Law School, UC Hastings School of Law, San Francisco State University and University of San Francisco Law School. When not in the office, Ms. Polk can be found outside,exploring the African American history of California's green spaces.
Noah Frigault is a California-licensed attorney and Policy Analyst for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission who manages internships, grants, compliance, and other equity initiatives for HRC, as well as oversees graphic design, reports, and other media. Mr. Frigault previously sat on the City of Oakland Housing Residential Rent and Relocation Board as a tenant representative and worked for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing conducting housing discrimination investigations. Mr. Frigault is a 2016 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Equity Fellow, a former HRC Bridge Fellow, and was the first Fair Housing Law Student Fellow at the East Bay Community Law Center, where he designed and implemented a housing discrimination testing program for EBCLC's Housing Unit.
Veronica Garcia provides leadership and support to a number of different projects including the Equity Advisory Committee (which is currently focused on the city’s housing crisis and African American out-migration), in-house youth internship programs, and an initiative aimed at improving community relations between SFPD and San Francisco youth. Before joining the HRC, Ms. Garcia served as a Fellow with Urban Habitats Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute, was the President of the Ethnic Studies Student Organization at SF State University (SFSU), and a Base-Building Leader with Students Making A Change, a project of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. At Coleman Advocates, Ms. Garcia organized and trained community college students to advocate for education equity reforms at City College of San Francisco – and was instrumental in changing the placement testing policy. Also while at Coleman, she conceived of and founded a new project of the organization, Moms Making A Change, which provided leadership development, academic support, and life-skills training for teenage moms. Ms. Garcia is a proud San Francisco native and a first generation college graduate with a degree in Latino/Latina Studies from SFSU.
Amelia M. Martinez-Bankhead has been a direct service provider and advocate in the nonprofit sector for 20 years in the Bay Area and also serves on several local nonprofit boards of directors and advisory committees. As a native of San Francisco and daughter of immigrants, she is fully invested in her work in this sector, focusing on youth, health, education, immigrant rights, and issues affecting vulnerable communities. Prior to joining the HRC Policy and Social Justice Division, Ms. Martínez-Bankhead worked with a federally funded education program in the Mission District serving low-performing schools, working with a wide range of community partners on issues affecting the population served. Ms. Martinez-Bankhead has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. In 2017, she joined the HRC to work on the My Brother and Sister’s Keeper Initiative.
David C. Miree
David C. Miree has a BA in Political Science from the University of Tennessee/Knoxville, an MPA in Public Administration and a J.D. from UT College of Law. Mr. Miree has served as counsel to clients from marginalized communities at both administrative and trial levels. Mr. Miree joined HRC’s Policy & Social Justice Division in 2011 and is the lead coordinator for the agency's African American Community Empowerment Initiative (AACEI). In addition, Mr. Miree manages HRC’s communications and media relations. Prior to joining the HRC, Miree served as the Deputy Director of Communications and Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco Mayor’s Office.
Sneh Rao is Director of Policy at the Human Rights Commission. He oversees policy and government affairs, and manages the agency's budget and finances. His work focuses on strengthening government and community relations, especially around public safety and violence prevention. He also leads community partnerships on issues of equity, discrimination and hate violence, as well as international partnerships on human rights issues. Before joining the Commission, Mr. Rao was a director at an international human rights organization and advocated on a range of policy issues affecting human rights in Latin America. He was also a fellow through the Thomas J. Watson Foundation and researched civil rights and health issues affecting sex workers in South Africa, Brazil and Spain. In addition, Mr. Rao served with the office of former US Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and provided support to Appropriations and Foreign Relations committees. Mr. Rao speaks Gujarati, Spanish, Portuguese and French. He graduated magna cum laude from Macalester College and holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Aria Sa'id serves as the LGBT Policy Analyst for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. As an award-winning public policy advocate and political strategist, who, prior to joining the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, co-founded the Compton’s Cultural District- the world’s first transgender cultural district and restores the historical legacy of the site of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots. In addition, she co-sponsored SB 310: the Name and Dignity Act for Incarcerated Transgender People and served as lobbyist for SB 179: Gender Recognition Act, both bills were historically authored by now Senate President Pro-tem Atkins and have been signed into law by Governor Brown as of September 2017. In addition to her public policy efforts, she previously served as Programs & Policy Director for the nation’s only peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers, The St. James Infirmary. During her tenure in sex worker rights advocacy, she also served as Chief Strategist for the TAJA’s (Transgender Advocates for Justice & Accountability) Coalition- spearheading the city-wide transgender violence prevention BART/MUNI campaign for #transawarenessmonth and launched the #translawhelp legal clinics that went on to support over 120 low-income transgender women of color with legal and gender affirming documents support and navigation. Ms. Sa’id is a 2016- 2017 Policy Fellow alum of the Women’s Policy Institute of the Women’s Foundation of California, and 2016-2017 Sojourner Truth Leadership Fellow of the Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. She is featured in SF Weekly, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, AlJazeera, Vice, KQED, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, The Advocate Magazine, and the Commonwealth Club-SF for her advocacy efforts.