with Farooq Mitha
Neha has long been active in both local and national politics. Most recently, she founded and served as the National Director for South Asians for Biden, an organization dedicated to engaging, educating, and mobilizing the South Asian community to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In 2016, Neha served as the National Co-Chair for South Asians for Hillary and was appointed by Hillary Clinton to the National AAPI Leadership Council.
Previously, in 2015, Neha was appointed as a guest of honor by the Consulate General of India in New York City where she was selected to speak about gender equality for International Women's Day. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Neha chaired the New York Chapter of South Asians for Obama and also served on the steering committee for Lawyers for Obama in New York. For several years, Neha served as an Officer of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, an organization affiliated with the National Lawyers Council of the Democratic National Committee and comprised of Democratic lawyers and voting rights activists. Similarly, for many years, Neha served as an advisory board member of New Leaders Council, a national organization focused on training and supporting progressive political entrepreneurs. She has also been active in her local community board and political clubs. Neha served as the President of the South Asian Bar Association of New York in 2012, and now sits on the organization’s Board of Directors.
Mobilizing the South Asian Community & Building Political Power
Shivanthi Sathanandan is a young Asian American leader of Indian and Sri Lankan descent who recently made history as the first Woman of Color and first South Asian woman to be elected as Second Vice Chair of Minnesota's Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Shivanthi joins SAFA as Co-Chair of the Political Engagement & Advocacy Committee.
She grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of immigrants who came to this country seeking the promise of the American Dream for their family. Her mother was a nurse and proud MNA member, who instilled strong union values in Shivanthi. Her father worked in accounting, and came from a family that lived the belief that political engagement should be a central part of every community member’s life. Shivanthi is a graduate of St. Paul Central High School and the University of Minnesota. She is currently the Managing Director of Outreach for a non-profit organization.
Shivanthi has been involved with the DFL since 2006. Since that time she has served as Vice Chair of the 4th Congressional District, State Director, CD4 Director, a Delegate to the National Convention, a member of the State Outreach and Inclusion Committee, co-chair of the Personnel Committee, co-chair of the State Nominations Committee, co-chair of the State Credentials Committee, a board member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, a board member of the Minnesota Asian Democratic Association (also a constituency caucus of the DFL), a member of the Simon-Rest Committee, and as a member of several other advisory committees.
Shivanthi believes that activism begins in neighborhood communities and that successful electoral politics depends on direct person-to-person communications. She has spent countless hours mobilizing volunteers, knocking doors, working the phones, and talking to voters for DFL campaigns at various level of government, including city, county, state and federal races.