Sameera Rajwade: ‘I am a Blueprint for Change’

Nov/11/2020 / by Bhargavi Kulkarni

Sameera Rajwade (they/them) has always worked outside the rules of society. This enables the 21-year-old San Ramon, California resident to pursue their passion for organizing as well as retain their creativity. Rajwade is one of four candidates vying for a City Council seat from San Ramon’s District 3.

“I decided to run because of the way American democracy is going,” Rajwade told this writer. “I am disillusioned with the politicians,” Rajwade said, adding that the campaign is focusing on the “intersectional justice of climate, race and economic well-being.” However, it’s not politics that got them to run for office. It’s their passion for organizing communities, bringing them together “with love” and “fixing the broken parts.”

“I am a blueprint for change,” Rajwade said.

Born and brought up in San Ramon, Rajwade is a first-generation Indian American who identifies as non-binary. A longtime San Ramon resident, Rajwade attended Coyote Creek Elementary and Gale Ranch Middle schools before graduating from Dougherty Valley High School in 2017.

“I am running for San Ramon City Council because I love San Ramon and want to fight for all of my fellow residents, not just those whose financial interests are aligned with government officials,” Rajwade says on their campaign website.

“I’m brown, I’m queer, I’m spiritual, and I’m a free thinker,” the fiery and energetic Rajwade told this writer. “And I have leveled the playing field.”

A local community activist, Rajwade has worked for marginalized communities. This May, Rajwade organized a march in San Ramon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, to express frustrations with police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died on May 25 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

“Everyone marched,” Rajwade said. “Even Indian aunties participated. It was an amazing experience, the power to gather communities.”

An Agent for Progressive Change

Along with providing a better life to its residents, Rajwade’s platform centers around defunding and demilitarizing the police, and promoting educational reform.

“Defunding the police is a national movement and bringing that movement into wealthy white/Asian suburbs is an extremely integral part into actually making police defunding and eventual abolition and reparations a true manifestation in this world,” Rajwade said in an Instagram video.

Another area of focus for Rajwade is education reform.

“I am advocating for a more inclusive curriculum in schools that teaches about historical genocide and brutality of slavery that transpired in the United States, as well as the innovative contributions by Black and indigenous people of color,” Rajwade told this writer. “I know what I’m doing right now is an uphill battle and I have no idea if I’m going to win. And even if I don’t win I’m still going to keep fighting. I truly believe in a better future. I truly believe that change is coming.”

Mobilizing the Youth

One of Rajwade’s biggest assets is age. And with that comes innovation and technology. Rajwade says their campaign has used innovative, graphic ideas to reach out to the residents and. most specifically, the youth. Galvanizing the youth through media engagements has been one of the main focuses of their campaign.

“I am shifting the conversation,” Rajwade said. “My campaign has been aiming to encourage, motivate and inspire other people who are young to run for office, to bring forth policy to their state or local governments and really bring this revolution in motion.”

Along the way, Rajwade has also evolved. Of course the journey hasn’t been easy, but what has helped is the support and encouragement from family, friends, and the community at large, including Indian Americans in their district. The District 3 seat primarily encompasses a large portion of the Dougherty Valley along Bollinger Canyon Road.

“My family is happy to see how I am working and how things could change,” Rajwade said. “Something new is happening in this town. I am extending the conversation in the desi community.”

Seema

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