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San Francisco

New Chapter in the History of Indian Diaspora in America, Manohar Raju Appointed as New Public Defender

Author : Odisha Today Bureau | Posted on: 2019-05-02

Manohar Raju has been sworn in as San Francisco's newest public defender, the city's first Indian American to be appointed to the position.

 

Mayor London Breed swore in Raju, 50, during the lunchtime ceremony at Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, prompting a standing ovation from some 150 people assembled — many of them attorneys in the office he will now lead.


 

Manohar ,  who has created history by becoming the first South Asian American to head a Public Defender’s office in a major American city—or for that matter in the entire nation—has said he views his work “as falling within the tradition of broader freedom struggles that have always relied upon multiracial solidarities”.

 

On March 11, San Francisco, Calif., Mayor London Breed named Raju to take over the helm of the city’s Public Defender office following the sudden death of the incumbent Jeff Adachi on Feb. 22 of a massive heart attack at age 59.

 

In an interview with India Abroad, the Wilmington, Delaware-born and Pittsburgh and Boston raised Raju, said, “I am Tamil and proud to be the first South Asian American Public Defender. However, I view public defender work as falling within the tradition of broader freedom struggles that have always relied upon multiracial solidarities”.

 

He also added, “This is our city and our mandate as public defenders is literally to defend this city from those forces who might choose to turn it into a less just society. Together we will not let that happen”.

 

Mano Raju’s wife, Asha Raju, and his son, Asim Raju, sat next to him as he was hugged by his godchildren Vivian, Rowan and Fallon, while members of the public defender’s office spoke about his appointment. He was sworn in by Mayor London Breed.

 

Mano Raju was born on the East Coast to parents who emigrated from a small village in southern India. He attended University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and was hired away from the Contra Costa Public Defender in 2008 by Adachi.

 

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