Ankita has been many “firsts.” First woman lawyer (with three law degrees from two countries) in their family. First person in their family to get educated out of their own country on a full scholarship. And first Indian non-citizen woman to be in a public position in Madison with an understanding of queer issues in America. Ankita currently serves on the Police Civilian Oversight Board and has served as Chair of Equitable Hiring Tool Taskforce to find Madison’s first Independent Monitor. They have served on the board of the Madison Community Co-op and North American Students Of Cooperation. They also served as Vice President of Middle Eastern Law Students Association in 2016–17, and were the only research-based Masters in Law student and Indian in that association.
Coming from a multi-religious background and upbringing and having spent considerable time in India, Kenya, and the U.S., Ankita has a global perspective on social justice and brings that to every table they sit at. “My time as Chair of Equitable Hiring Tool Taskforce and as a member of Police Civilian Oversight Board of Madison has empowered me to bring a specific perspective to issues in our community which can be unique at times. I look at a problem from the lens of an Asian and Desi woman, as a person with understanding of queer folks and surrounded by queer community, as a brown person in America and a non-citizen. I then use my global experience and education to navigate those issues,” they said.
“I hope to pave the way for other Asian and Desi women in the direction of liberation and representation. One day Desis won’t be the wrong kind of brown because our community doesn’t understand race beyond the binary. One day non-binary pronouns won’t be the wrong kind of pronouns because we refuse to look at gender beyond the binary as well,” they said. “I tell myself each day: ‘Eyes on the prize!’ It’s all gonna be worth it one day.”
2021 Pride in Color Leadership Features
The Influencer: Ladi London is a brown-skinned, femme trans Milwaukee native who produces videos and other content to effect change and cultivate community.
The Artist: nibiiwakamigkwe is a two-spirit Indigenous artist, activist, and organizer interested in healing and visibility.
The Table Shaker: Yanté Turner is an openly trans and queer Black change agent working as an Inclusion and Equity Coordinator as well as a doula.
The First: Ankita Bharadwaj is a lawyer, advocate, and trail blazer who knows the journey upward is often isolating, but that it is worth it.
The Founder: Rick Banks is co-founder of MKE Black, Inc. which connects Black Milwaukeeans to Black culture, events, and Black-owned businesses.
The Scholar: James McMaster is a queer Asian-American educator, and activist who lives by example in the classroom and out in community.
The Professor: Víctor M. Macías-González is Professor of History and Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UW-La Crosse.