Shahrzad Shams

Senior Program Manager, Race and Democracy


Shahrzad Shams is the senior program manager for the Race and Democracy team at Roosevelt where she focuses on advancing racial equity, combating authoritarianism, and fighting for an inclusive multiracial democracy and economy.

As senior program manager of the Race and Democracy team, Shahrzad Shams is responsible for managing the program’s publication process, providing project and events management support, and conducting in-depth research on solutions to advance racial equity, economic justice, and a robust democracy. Shahrzad has written on a range of topics, including the racism and ideological capture of the American judiciary, the need for democracy-enhancing structural reforms to US institutions, the strategic shortcomings of progressives’ focus on policy alone, and the cultural dimensions of the neoliberal project.

Prior to joining Roosevelt, Shahrzad served as a legal intern for both the Federal Public Defender’s Capital Habeas Unit in the Southern District of Ohio and the Ohio Public Defender’s death penalty division, where she worked with supervising attorneys to provide legal defense to individuals on death row. She has also worked on criminal justice and drug policy issues with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, and conducted research concerning civil rights enforcement at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Shahrzad holds a BA in psychology, an MA in public policy and management, and a JD from The Ohio State University.