Rachel Gilmer graduated from Vassar College in 2010 with a degree in American Culture and Africana Studies. As a fourth year student, she received an award for her thesis, a critical analysis of the rise of Barack Obama as both an emerging hero of the African Diaspora and the new face of American hegemonic power. While researching the project, she received a grant to conduct fieldwork in France, where she worked with various civil rights organizations in Paris, studying the impact his presidency has had on Black Frenchmens’ view of themselves and America. During college, Rachel engaged in a variety of youth development programs, including writing, directing and acting with elementary, middle and high school-aged students in a Hip Hop Musical that examines issues pertaining to the community. Rachel has also participated in a college-in-prison program that brought college students and imprisoned men together to participate in discussions aimed at dispelling myths regarding the two populations and sharing ideas in how to fight within and against the confines of an unjust system.
This past summer, Rachel was selected from over 700 applicants to participate in the Oregon Bus Project’s Politicorps fellowship, an intensive political leadership program in Portland. She is currently the health equity policy analyst at the Office of Multicultural Health and Services under the Oregon Health Authority and outreach organizer at the Urban League of Portland.