Photo of Sonali Seth

Sonali Seth

  • Hosted by Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
  • Sponsored by Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Voting Rights/Electoral Participation
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Sonali (she/her/hers) will work to build political power for communities of color by fighting discriminatory local redistricting through legal assistance, advocacy, and litigation.

Local political processes, such as city councils and school boards, make the decisions that govern people’s everyday lives: what the police force looks like, what utilities people receive, how schools operate, and who these institutions actually serve. But as the face of the country is rapidly changing, incumbent politicians are drawing local districts specifically to dilute the vote of growing communities of color. As 2021 begins the decade’s redistricting cycle—one without key legal protections for the first time—communities in places of high demographic change face the threat of being locked out of the political process altogether. Communities of color are fighting for much-needed policy reform, but that reform is only possible with meaningful representation and political processes that are responsive to their needs. 

Fellowship Plans

Sonali will work with local partners to identify two to five target localities with unmet needs. In these localities, the project will offer legal support to communities during the redistricting process, by helping build a record to strengthen their negotiating positions. Best practices and strategies learned from these experiences will be consolidated into resources to be shared broadly with community-based groups and inform a public report with policy and legal recommendations. If the project identifies areas that require strategic litigation, then Sonali will also prepare to challenge maps in court. 

My racial justice work, informed by my South Asian heritage, is driven by a spirit of collective liberation: I want to fight for all communities of color to get the political representation they deserve.

Sonali Seth /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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