I started working in North Minneapolis in June of 2000. I was 22 years old. Every Tuesday morning I would go to Lucille’s Kitchen and sit in the back and listen to everyone debate the important issues facing our community. I loved every second of it. I loved the commentary, the debate and people. Sometimes I even had the courage to stand up and share my own thoughts and opinions, my body and voice trembling the whole time.

For a son of immigrants from India, who grew up in middle class suburbia, Tuesdays at Lucille’s Kitchen felt like about the farthest place from home as I could imagine. But in reality, North Minneapolis is only 15 minutes away from where I grew up in Arden Hills, Minnesota.

I’m not sure how I ended up in North Minneapolis. I didn’t grow up here; I never tried to come here. Then one day I was here. Working with kids, and then with families, then working with organizations, systems and friends. I live here. I work here. I am raising a family here. I love here.

On a more professional note. I have a bachelors of science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a masters degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and have been employed at places like Project for Pride in Living, The Sanctuary Community Development Corporation and Nexus Community Partners. I was a 2011-2013 Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow. Currently, I am the director of community programs at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota. I also get to teach a class on neighborhood revitalization at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs every fall semester.  Last but not least, my friend Jeremy Scheller and I run a small communications and design firm, Redwire Creative, LLC from North Minneapolis.

My wife, Erin, and I live in North Minneapolis where we are doing our best to parent, teach and learn from, two energetic, passionate, free-spirited, strong willed, creative, opinionated, stubborn, beautiful boys, Ezra and Koen.