- She becomes the first Indian American and the first LGBTQ woman of color to win a citywide seat in the town.
Equal rights advocate Minita Sanghvi made history last week by becoming the first Indian American and first LGBTQ woman of color to be elected to a citywide position in Saratoga Springs, New York. Sanghvi was elected as the city’s finance commissioner with 49 percent of the vote.
“Thank you for all your efforts in the campaign,” the Mumbai-born Sanghvi wrote on her Facebook page. “As a first-time candidate I realized very quickly that a campaign needs a village and I’ve been very lucky to have so many people as a part of our village,” she wrote. “Our community has really come together and I am very grateful for all your support.” Sanghvi thanked her wife Megan, their son Jamie, and all her family in India and North Carolina.
As the finance commissioner, Sanghvi will manage the city’s budget and implement new positive initiatives to Saratoga Springs.
She was endorsed by the Indian American Impact Fund for her run. “An LGBTQ woman of color, she’s a fierce advocate for equal rights. Impact is proud to endorse @votesanghvi for Finance Commissioner,” IMPACT wrote in a tweet.
A tenured Business Professor at Skidmore College, Sanghvi moved to the U.S. in 2001 to pursue higher studies. She became a U.S. citizen in 2010. She holds an undergraduate degree in Accounting and an MBA from the University of Bombay, a Masters in Retailing and Consumer Sciences from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. from Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
While in Greensboro, Sanghvi served on the Human Relations Commission whose mission was to encourage fair treatment and promote mutual understanding and respect among all. She moved to Saratoga Springs in 2014 to teach at Skidmore College in the Management and Business Department. She also serves on the Public Library Board and founded the city’s Human Rights Task Force.
In August, when Sanghvi was canvassing door-to-door in a neighborhood on Friar Tuck Road in the western part of Saratoga Springs, , when a resident called the police on her, “indicating a suspicious car was outside his home,” The Daily Gazette reported.
“Somehow I was a danger to his society and his street, and I know he did that because I am brown,” Sanghvi said in an emotional video she posted to Facebook shortly after the incident happened. “It hurts me, it makes me sad, and it makes me angry. This is my street, this is my town, my son grows up here.”
She said she was wearing a Ralph Lauren office shirt, jeans and sneakers, “trying to look professional,” and carrying a “Girls just want to have fundamental rights” bag, but that the person who called the police still found her suspicious. “Apparently, all the person saw was the color of my skin,” Sanghvi said. She continued to knock on all the doors on the street. “I’m not going to let someone stop me from canvassing, I’m not going to let them stop me from running.”