Kristen Brock-Petroshius grew up in a working-class Midwestern city. After receiving her BA in Sociology with a minor in Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, she began a career in social services and community organizing. She supported low-income families and incarcerated individuals through housing, transportation, and employment training at the YWCA. She helped found Operation Welcome Home, a grassroots organization dedicated to decriminalizing and addressing the root causes of homelessness. She served as a lead organizer and educator on racial justice issues with Groundwork, a community organization of white people working to achieve racial justice in Dane County, Wisconsin. From 2011-2016 she was the Executive Director of GSAFE, a statewide Wisconsin non-profit working to create just schools for LGBTQ youth. She also served as staff for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and achieve racial justice.
After over a decade working in social services and community organizing, Kristen realized a need to focus on building longer-term strategies to change the dominant racial and political attitudes of majority white communities to advance racial equity. She received her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the University of California, Los Angeles and is building on her extensive practice experience through community-engaged research. She is an organizer with the local SURJ affiliate White People 4 Black Lives and was a Regional Field Director on the Reform LA Jails campaign – a Los Angeles County ballot initiative approved in March 2020 that reallocates funds from jail expansion into community resources and increases accountability for the Sheriff’s Department.