Sanjeev Memula - Endorsed Candidate Bio
When I was barely two years old, my father made the decision to move his family to the United States from India. A move that would fundamentally change my life, and lead to the cherished career I have today.
Like so many immigrants before him, my father was drawn to these shores because of the beacons of hope and freedom that echoed from the lighted torch from that most iconic symbol of freedom and democracy - the Statue of Liberty. He saw in this beacon the promise of a new life, a measure of freedom, a measure of compassion; he saw “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”
My early school life, as academically challenging as it was, did not come without sacrifice and moments of religious and racial hatreds and innuendo. Though I didn’t see the blatant racism of the sixties and seventies, school was at times a challenge. Fighting for my acceptance and own self-esteem was at times harder than the math, science and history classes I had to master. I soon learned that I had to reinvent myself if I wanted to be accepted. This required being a little less Indian, and a lot more American. Assimilation, they call it.
Like so many parents in the Indian community, my father enrolled me in private schools because, rightly or wrongly, he believed it offered me and my siblings the best chance to gain a quality education. That journey would take me from high school at MUS, then Washington University and the University of Missouri Law School. I returned Home to pursue my life’s passion…Public Law. I became and remain, a Shelby County Public Defender.
And nineteen years later, I feel so fortunate to have been able to play a major part in the lives of so many of our fellow citizens as their advocate to the most basic of rights…to be judged fairly and morally by their peers. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to advocate for those of us who don’t have the financial or family resources to adequately defend themselves against charges that may or may not be true. I feel so fortunate to be an advocate of our efforts “in order to form a more perfect Union.”
My wife Kavitha and I are proud residents of Collierville and share our home with our bundle of energy and joy, our four-year-old daughter Srija. We believe our community and the thousands of wonderful people who call it home, are the fabric of the kind of life that gives not only those who are born on these shores but also those like my family, who came here for all the right reasons; We came here to pursue the American Dream.
Yet to this day, so many of our fellow citizens don’t always get to share in that dream. Too many of our fellow citizens are still mired in the shackles of poverty, inadequate housing, inadequate healthcare, an educational and justice system that too often don’t fully represent their concerns and values. In too many ways, we have become a Tale of Two Cities instead of what JFK and Ronald Reagan termed A Shining City on a Hill.
That’s why in 2017, I made a decision to run for the House Legislative District 95, for one basic reason: to bring openness and fairness to the citizens of this District. I want to level the playing field, as they say, and give a voice to the voiceless; give hope to the hopeless; give strength to those weakened; give compassion and humanity to us all.
I hope as you read this, you will find that I am NOT that “politician”. I am NOT that member of the “Swamp.” I am not beholden to any special interest, except you, the citizens of District 95. I hope you will join me on this “journey to redefine our community as that beacon of hope and democracy for not just a few, but for us all. For we are so much better when we collectively work “in order to form a more perfect Union.”