Kavita Khandekar was born in Houston and raised in a small suburb of Sacramento, but I’m so glad she eventually made it to Plano. She’s the VP, Development for re:power, a national training and capacity building organization for communities of color in the progressive movement . . . more on that later.
Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from India. Kavita learned to harness her own political power while studying Social Welfare at UC Berkeley. After graduating, she worked for a community organization in Fremont, CA teaching teenagers about healthy relationships while also working as a legal assistant to an immigration attorney. Soon after earning her Masters degree in Social Work from UT-Austin, she moved to North Texas and married her husband Sumesh. From 2013 onward, she worked for an immigrant rights organization in Dallas, serving the legal and social needs of area residents.
“Democrats understand that our fates are tied to one another. We only thrive when our siblings next to us thrive.”
Kavita’s response when I asked why she votes Democratic eloquently captured the essence of what’s on the hearts and minds of many progressives these days:
“I was raised on the belief that we exist on this Earth, not just for ourselves, but also for our communities. We are stronger when we support one another, care for each other, and value each person’s dignity and worth as a human. Democrats, especially Young Dems, are recognizing that humanity must come first, not only in how we interact with each other, but also in our policies and laws as a country. And that the true lived experiences of humans are diverse, and we can no longer accept what will work for the shrinking ‘middle,’ but must instead lift up and stand up with marginalized populations who have been forced to the ‘bottom.’ Policy needs to work for all of us, not just some of us.”
In January 2017, Kavita watched Trump’s inauguration from her hospital bed, having suffered a miscarriage. She explained: “The Texas legislature had just started their session, and there was already a stack of bills restricting access to abortion, including procedures like the one I had just had. Watching our new President take the mantle of leadership, I knew then that my fight as a non-black/non-indigenous woman of color and as the daughter of immigrants was far from over.”
Since then, she’s become engaged with her county party - serving as Precinct Chair for 116 and Fundraising Chair in 2017-2018, and made Democratic politics a bigger part of her life. Her new job at re:power is focused on training for candidates, campaign managers, digital organizers, field organizers, and other folks in the movement looking to build power in their communities for real change. Kavita’s one-year old daughter constantly reminds her why she is willing to invest her time, energy, and money in this work. She said, “when I believe in a candidate, the first thing I do is make a donation. Money is still a huge factor in our elections and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. So remember that your donations to campaigns and candidates (like Manu’s!) is not charity—it’s an investment in the future you want for yourself and your community.”