A long-time Bay Area resident, Liam Chinn comes from a family of civil rights activists and restaurateurs. Raised in a Native American community in Alaska, Liam’s lived experience has inspired his career path. He has worked locally and in more than a dozen countries building diverse coalitions to advance restorative systems that bring self-determination and healing to communities fractured by violence and oppression.
Liam’s approach involves re-centering the power of decision-making in communities so they can redefine safety and justice on their own terms. As executive director of Restore Oakland, he facilitates collaboration among organizational partners and stakeholders to maximize their collective impact through restorative approaches to justice and economic development. Liam fosters community participation and ownership of Restore Oakland, including establishing a restorative justice center in the building and guiding the development of joint campaigns for policy and systems change.
“We are creating Restore Oakland as a model for community reinvestment. Our vision is a new justice system and a local economy where everyone belongs and thrives.”
For almost a decade, Liam worked developing large-scale community governance, safety, and police reform initiatives at the Asia Foundation. This includes leading the formation of a broad coalition in the war-torn country of Timor-Leste that won shifts in policies and resources away from militarized policing and toward a nationwide community-led restorative justice system. The strategy has since been replicated in other countries.
At the United Religions Initiative, Liam directed a three-year grassroots organizing effort to ignite collaboration and partnerships across the largest interfaith social justice network in the world, comprised of over 800 organizations.
Liam holds an M.A. in International Relations with a focus on neocolonialism from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in political science specializing in race and politics from Western Washington University. Although he is trained in Thai and Cantonese cuisine, his true passion is cooking over a campfire. Liam and his family live in Oakland.