DEVIKA GHAI is a South Asian queer woman, born and raised in New Delhi, India. Growing up in New Delhi, she saw stark examples of poverty and wealth disparities, which will later ground her in understanding the different forms of injustice. Now residing in Oakland, Devika works towards food justice at Pesticide Action Network as an organizer. Her politicization and social justice framework first started when she deconstructed the food system.
“..it helped me see injustice in a new way – connecting systems of oppression and understanding the ways different issues are connected.”
Outside of her day job, Devika is a member of Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) – one of our partners at the Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE) network. Through ASATA, Devika gets to explore what it means to put one’s politics into practice and put her Desi identity into context.
“It’s like having a big political South Asian family.”
Similarly, Devika’s involvement with API Equality – Northern California allows her to explore what it means to be her full self as a queer South Asian. As a transcriber of the Dragon Fruit Project, Devika connects to a queer lineage that she’s never experienced through her family’s own history.
“Dragon Fruit is about locating yourself in history and it helps us see how things change through the experiences of our ancestors. There’s a true human experience to these stories and it doesn’t matter how old you are. ”
Devika’s hope for the community is that one day we won’t need to identify as “queer and Asian” and that we can just be who we are without placing our identities against the framework of “the norm.” For herself, she has a lot of personal hopes and ambitions that are not necessarily defined by her queer identity and doesn’t want it to dictate who she is. Devika wants to leave behind a legacy that narrates her devotion to social movements and activism.
FUN FACT: Devika used to be a professional horseback riding athlete! She wishes she continued this when she was younger.