I’m a first-generation American, born to a family who immigrated here to seek opportunity and a better future.
I was born in Mississippi, grew up in Indiana, and have been a New Yorker since I moved here to attend NYU Law twelve years ago.
My parents came here from India in the 70’s and hustled hard, earning my brother and me the unique experience of living through most income brackets.
When we were little, we spent our summers stocking vending machines and screwing on doorknobs in the motels my family owned, operated, and lived in. Hospitality was in our blood, and as the business grew, my parents always managed to build a bigger table to share what they had, and to support others in their community. Today, I’m proud to say I’ve played an active role in growing our businesses across 14 states, creating thousands of jobs for really awesome people. Extended family, really.
But that drive isn’t limited to business.
Here’s a short list of other things you might like to know about if you were considering voting for me:
▸ I studied political science at Stanford, and after wrapping up my law degree, received a scholarship at Cambridge where I earned a Masters in public policy.
▸ I can’t seem to stay out of libraries and classrooms. For the past few years, I’ve taught as an adjunct professor of Business Ethics at NYU Stern and also host Talks on Law, a continuing education series on civil and voting rights.
▸ In 2008, I dropped everything to work for Barack Obama’s campaign because I was inspired by a campaign focused on the future, rather than the past.
▸ Campaign days turned to inauguration days, which later led to planning and traveling with the previous White House staff throughout Obama’s two terms.
▸ I’m a fighter by default. I’ve volunteered my time as an attorney to protect immigrants facing deportation and travelers stuck at JFK due to the President’s Muslim ban.
▸ I serve on the board of an immigrant youth-led organization here in New York called Atlas:DIY, supporting DREAMers.
▸ After our last Presidential election (and a subsequent Olive Garden carb binge), I became a founding team member of The Arena, focused on recruiting a new generation of bold, progressive leaders to take the reins.
Long story short? I rarely sit still. Especially when things are broken.
I have an obligation now to get off the sidelines. My family was able to thrive because we had access to opportunities that are being taken away right now. And we’re at an inflection point where we can either look away from what’s happening in our country, or we can address these problems head on.
To me, the “American dream” isn’t about accomplishments. It's about opportunity. It’s a belief in the equal dignity and worth of every human being. It's about giving people the freedom to go about their lives, and ensuring they have the space to flourish. It’s about bringing the spirit of hospitality into our government, to care for others.