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Sally Steenland

Director, Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative

Expertise: Religion in the public sphere, religion and LGBT equality, women and religion, religion and science

Sally Steenland is Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at American Progress. She guides the initiative’s work on a variety of policy issues, including economic inequality, the environment, immigration, poverty, health care, LGBT equality, the role of religion in the public square, diversity and tolerance, and cultural and social matters. She also directs the Young Muslim American Voices Project and the Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute. She edited Debating the Divine: Religion in 21st Century American Democracy and Pursuing the Global Common Good: Principle and Practice in U.S. Foreign Policy.

In the 1990s she was a frequent op-ed columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. In the 1980s she was deputy director of the National Commission on Working Women, where she wrote major studies on women’s employment and women in the media and directed projects involving women in nonprofessional jobs. For several years she taught English, filmmaking, and critical media studies in high schools.

Steenland has written two best-selling books, The Magnetic Poetry Book and the award-winning Kids’ Magnetic Book of Poetry. Her short stories have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies.

Steenland was raised in a Dutch Calvinist community in northern New Jersey. She received a B.A. in English from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a master’s degree in education from Howard University.