Fania Davis

Honorary Degrees

San Francisco State University

Fania Davis is a world-renowned social justice activist and scholar, civil rights trial attorney, restorative justice practitioner and writer. Her research focuses on restorative justice and the exploration of African indigenous roots. She is recognized as a leading national voice on restorative justice, an emerging and growing field that invites a fundamental shift in the way we think about and enact justice. Restorative justice is based on a set of principles and practices that mediate conflict, strengthen community and repair harm. She earned her Ph.D. in Indigenous Knowledge.

Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the social ferment of the civil rights era, Dr. Davis experienced the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. This incident crystallized her passionate commitment to social transformation. For the next decades, Dr. Davis was active in several movements that focused on social transformation including civil rights, Black liberation, women's, prisoners', peace, anti-racial violence and anti-apartheid.

After receiving her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979, Dr. Davis practiced as a civil rights trial lawyer for 27 years. The search for a healing justice also led her to bring restorative justice to Oakland. She is the founder, and currently director, of Restorative Justice of Oakland Youth (RJOY). She also served as counsel to the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Her numerous honors include the Ubuntu award for service to humanity, the Dennis Maloney Award for Excellence in Youth Restorative Justice and World Trust's Healing Justice award. In 2015 the Los Angeles Times called her a new civil rights leader, an emerging voice in the 21st century.

In recognition of Dr. Davis’ extraordinary accomplishments in her life-long pursuit of social and restorative justice, the Board of Trustees of California State University and San Francisco State University are proud to confer upon Dr. Fania Davis an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.