“Shreya’s ability to create a safe space for discussion of intense & personal issues, such as racial justice in professional/academic fields, allowed for significant growth. Shreya’s energy was calming, yet allowed people to engage with each other in ways that led to clarity and revelation. I hope to have the chance to have Shreya facilitate for our organization again; they allowed a new path to be realized & we’re indebted to Shreya for that.”   {Marietta Gary-Smith, AASECT- American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, & Therapists}

 “Saltwater’s facilitation “dynamic duo”  was very sharp, thorough, quick on their feet, and respectfully kept control of the sessions. They definitely did their homework and were prepared for our organization. The presentations were thought-provoking, pushed us to go beyond our “bubble” to consider and to see a broader perspective- while being engaging and interactive. I don’t know how you could be more impactful. What I personally took away from the experience is to continue to be my authentic self and professionally, to be open to other ideas and perspectives without compromising my moral compass and challenge other point of views in an honest dialogue to reach a common goal. I would love to have Saltwater at our next staff retreat.”   {Felice Judkins, Washington D.C.}

About Saltwater

SALTWATER Social Justice Training is guided by the vision that ‘the antidote to most things is saltwater- sweat, tears, or the sea’.  SALTWATER creates transformative spaces for personal and collective liberation that grows from the alchemy of sweat- hard work, rigor, and discipline in action; tears – embracing the deep and wide range of emotions to live fully into our humanness, from joy to grief; and the sea – honoring our need to nurture and replenish our spirits through connection with the natural world.


About Shreya D. Shah, MPH

The founding director of Saltwater Social Justice Training, Shreya (S.D.) Shah, is a South Asian facilitator, trainer, coach, healer, and artivist. Shreya has over 12 years of experience providing impactful workshops and educational services to various communities.  S.D has taken on many overlapping roles, including that of community organizer, youth worker, HIV/STD tester & counselor, health educator, social worker, social justice coach, curriculum designer, fellowship coordinator, trainer and facilitator. Throughout the years, they have also served as a barista, hair cutter, webinar tech support, secretary, and waitstaff, among other positions. Much of Shreya’s work centers around the intersections of media, racial, gender, health and healing justice. While Shreya’s first home was in Michigan, home also exists in many places- Shreya has spent significant time supporting grassroots organizations and activism in Oakland, CA; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; and New York City, NY..

Shreya is on the People’s Hub (PH) and Training for Change (TFC) online training teams, building online skills and virtual trainings across geographies. They helped launch TFC’s inaugural J.C.J. Fellowship Program for trainers of color to strengthen the impact of organizers and trainers of color around the States. They are on the AWID CMC Organizing Committee, supporting feminists from all around the world to gather at the intersectional 2021/2022 Feminist Realities Forum. S.D. has been active in many people-powered direct action movement work like Black Lives Matter, Asians 4 Black Lives, and Occupy Wall Street (POC and Media Caucuses). Shreya was a 3-year member of Astraea Foundation’s Funding Queerly Giving Circle, redistributing resources to build the capacity for growing organizing by/ for LGBTQI communities across the U.S. Before being called to SALTWATER Social Justice Training, Shreya co-directed the Rhizome Project.

Shreya’s social justice toolkit and frameworks have been deeply informed through community organizing at a Chicago one-stop center for homeless & precariously-housed LGBTQI youth of color, and supporting youth and anti-violence crisis hotlines. As the lead drop-in health educator and youth worker, S.D. supported safer sex education, political education, transformative justice anti-violence programming, media storytelling projects, and drop-in days and nights. They received a ’30 under 30′ Windy City Times award for this work.  Centering transformative justice, trauma-informed, harm reduction, participatory and direct education approaches continues to prove life-saving and life-giving to those most impacted.

S.D. graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a B.A. in Political Science and Columbia University with a Masters Degree in Public Health (MPH), focusing on health inequities, the built environment, and community-based participatory research (CBPR). Their MPH practicum at Critical Resistance focused on the intersections of the prison industrial complex and sexual health inequities.

S.D. integrates a body-based approach into facilitation & healing, moving groups and individuals through challenging dialogues in embodied, grounded ways. Shreya is deep in study of Processwork-oriented conflict facilitation and practice. S.D. is a certified ThetaHealing Practitioner and Leadership That Works ‘Community Transformation’ Coach, supporting individuals to deconstruct old stories to heal and actualize their goals and visions. S.D. is grateful to have contributed to various constellations of politicized healing and leadership development spaces such as with Generative Somatics: Somatics & Trauma, Transformative Leadership; SiOP Transformative Leadership Institute for women and TGNC of color leaders; the CDC/ASPH Institute of HIV Prevention Leadership Scholarship for Managers/Directors, Process Work Institute’s Winter Intensive; the New Leaders Council Fellowship; among others.

Shreya’s posters, prints, and clothing design shares healing messages – uplifting possibilities to move through fear and towards radical love for collective transformation. Shreya writes comedy/ traumedy with a budding ‘No Stop ‘Til Funny’ comedy collective, and cherishes mixed-media illustration and watercolor as medicinal, energy-replenishing practices. Shreya has organized many creativity and self-care community events for people of color in collaboration with other artists, writers, and healers.  S.D. enjoys hiking; playing with 4 sweet and rebellious ‘littles’; learning from the plants, ocean and stars; and laughing loudly and storytelling with loved ones.

“Shreya’s Saltwater team brought a lot of joy and fun to our retreat, and their sense of humor and joyfulness were contagious and helped make this such a positive experience for all of us. They created a safe space for our team to dig deeper into sensitive issues. They were flexible and adapted the schedule and activities based on our daily needs. Their genuine warmth, active listening skills, and ability to connect to their clients supported great, skilled facilitation.  Shreya’s approach to facilitation is very holistic and grounding. The exercises and discussions we were guided through were extremely thoughtful and helpful in creating space for our team to be honest and build a stronger cohesion.”  {Urgent Action Fund (UAF) Programming Team}

Working with Shreya was a wonderful experience. Shreya was kind and sensitive to the needs of the group and enabled a great environment for reflection in a participatory manner. Shreya’s ability to connect with the group with ease, forging friendships and willingness to listen and offer support & solidarity was beautiful.”   {Asha Kowtal, General Secretary for the All India Dalit Women’s Rights Forum}


“I work with a community of trainers to execute my youth leadership week, and Shreya is by far my most competent, impactful and my favorite trainer. I hire them to guide my youth towards their visions and every year the youth are moved, touched and empowered to imagine their highest selves as a result of Shreya’s training. I recommend them to any group or individual that seeks transformation.” {Mona Shomali, Director of New Leader Initiative, Brower Youth Awards for Climate Justice Activists and Organizers}