Senai Gebretensae

Dream Beyond Bars Associate


As a first-generation American, the child of Eritrean refugees, Senai spent most of his young adult life locked up. During time spent in solitary confinement, he began his socio-political education through readings such as, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander & “Race Matters” by Dr. Cornell West, which allowed him to realize that he was the victim of a system that was doing exactly what it was designed to do. Once he was released in May of 2022, he enrolled in Modesto Junior College and graduated soon after with an Associate of Arts in both Political Science & Sociology, upon which hetransferred to UC Berkeley where he is currently completing his BA in Sociology and African American Studies on a pre-law track.

Since his release, he has been actively involved with the board of various non-profits in the Central Valley and Bay Area focused on holistic, vertically integrated approaches to combating mass incarceration and the oppression of BIPOC communities in the Stanislaus and Alameda Counties. He’s also worked closely with non-profits and institutions of higher education to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and establish incarceration-to education pipelines such as the Seeds 2 Trees Initiative (S2T) & the Incarcerated Scholars Program (ISP).

When able to, Senai enjoys traveling to gain cultural exposure, embracing new experiences, and writing & recording music.

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