Photo of Ronak Patel

Ronak Patel

  • Hosted by Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Sponsored by Cooley LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Issue area Racial Justice, Voting Rights/Electoral Participation
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Ronak (he/him/his) will work to ensure that Asian American communities have equal access to and participation in local elections in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Texas.

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial categorization in the United States. Yet too often in the political discourse, Asian Americans are ignored. Deeply engrained anti-Asian racism persists and has intensified in recent years, reflecting a long history of racial exclusion. Asian Americans remain underrepresented in local governments and school boards — composing 7.2% of the population, yet only hold 2.4% of city-level elected offices. This discrepancy is partially due to dilutive at-large elections and gerrymandered districts. These local governments directly affect peoples daily lives, controlling Asian American communities’ access to economic opportunities, quality education, and healthcare.

As the decennial redistricting cycle continues, Asian Americans have an incredible opportunity to reform local politics to enable their equal participation in local elections. Helping these communities exercise their political power can create lasting, intergenerational change.

Fellowship Plans

Ronak will work with local community partners to educate, advocate, and litigate around local redistricting issues, aiming to ensure Asian American communities retain long-term access to local government. Throughout the Fellowship, he will focus on developing sustainable community capacity to fight for better redistricting outcomes and on litigating for communities who are continually ignored and shut out of their local government. This joint advocacy and litigation strategy seeks to empower communities to fight for and preserve their access to local democracy for years to come.

Media

NYCLU & Advocates Alert Nassau County of First Possible NYVRA Redistricting Challenge

Equal access to our democracy is a fundamental component of racial justice. Especially at the local level, where the impact on peoples’ lives is most direct, we must ensure all communities can access transparent, responsive, and representative government.

Ronak Patel /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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