Zoë Polk is the Executive Director of the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). As Executive Director, Zoë leads EBCLC’s efforts to provide client-centered, holistic legal advocacy, dismantle structural racism and build a resilient and healthy community. Zoë took the helm of EBCLC in January 2020, proudly joining the organization’s legacy of Black women executive directors
In 2021, Zoë launched the organization’s Women of Color-Centered platform. She aims to lead the organization to invest in the vision, strategies, and solutions of women of color, and in doing so, center dignity, uplift families, and advance systems-change work. During her tenure, the organization has achieved critical victories for women of color, including advancing wealth for caregivers, cancellation of billions of dollars in criminal fines and fees, and upholding the longest and strongest COVID19 era eviction moratorium in the country.
This platform has also guided the organization’s first collective bargaining agreement, women of color centered COVID19 vaccine clinic and the commission of organizations “Know Justice Know Peace” community mural.
Zoë’s motivation to achieve racial justice is rooted in her own lived experience as a Black, cis, queer woman and navigating the intersections of those identities. She is committed to fighting the impact of decades of race neutral public policies, which were supposed to undo the harm of racism but only further impoverished communities of color.
At EBCLC, Zoë leads a team of 80+ staff members in serving 4,000+ clients per year to reimagine justice and advance systemic policy change. She also serves as a Berkeley Law faculty member overseeing the racial justice clinical training of 100+ students each year through EBCLC’s eight teaching clinics. At the law school, she teaches a seminar on Women of Color Centered Legal Services.
Prior to becoming Executive Director, Zoë was the Deputy Director of San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission, where she launched the City’s First Office of Racial Equity and the Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) office. As the National Program Director for Outdoor Afro, Zoë advised the outdoor industry on how to comprehensively incorporate a racial equity lens to their business model.
Zoë is the co-chair of the Bay Area Social Justice Nonprofit Executive Directors and is part of CompassPoint’s 2023 Cohort Next Generation of Black Leaders.
Zoë’s work has been featured in MS Magazine, Nonprofit Quarterly, USA Today, and KQED. She has also graciously accepted the Certificate of Honor from the City of San Francisco and the National Lawyers Guild Pro Bono Service Award.