Indian-American sworn-in as Oakland City Council member

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Indian-American sworn-in as Oakland City Council member

Indian-American attorney Janani Ramachandran became the youngest and first queer woman of colour to take oath as City Council member for Oakland’s District 4.
 

New York: Indian-American attorney Janani Ramachandran became the youngest and first queer woman of colour to take oath as City Council member for Oakland’s District 4.

Ramachandran, 30, became the first Oakland City Council candidate to declare her victory in the November 8 mid-term election where she edged past her opponent Nenna Joiner by winning 18,874 in total.

“Immensely grateful for all those who believed in me, and helped build our movement. Honoured to have my loved ones by my side as I took the ceremonial oath! Let’s get to work,” Ramachandran, who took oath in a saree last week, tweeted.

A graduate of Stanford University and Berkeley Law, Ramachandran has worked at various legal nonprofits, and served on the board of violence prevention nonprofits across Oakland. Ramachandran, an East Bay native and a former professional musician, serves as a Commissioner on the California Commission for API American Affairs.

Born to immigrant parents from South India, she previously served on the City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission. Prior to law school, Ramachandran worked as a home-visiting case manager for low-income immigrant mothers.

She later founded a domestic violence advocacy programme across five community health clinics, where she led training for medical staff, supervised advocates, and launched public education campaigns.

As a law student, she worked for several legal aid organisations on the intersections of domestic violence, housing, and other social justice causes.

At just 16, Ramachandran founded a nonprofit that built libraries in under-resourced schools in her local community.

In her 2021 run for State Assembly, Ramachandran, then a first-time candidate, shocked political experts by advancing to the special election runoff in August, coming out on top amongst a field of previously elected officials, says her website.


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