Castefiles Congratulates Sara Nelson on Appointment as Seattle City Council President, Highlights Their Ongoing Lawsuit Against Caste Ordinance in Seattle

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January 05, 2024                                              

Castefiles is thrilled to see the election of Seattle Council member Sara Nelson as the Council President for 2024-'25 with a unanimous 9-0 vote.

The Indian American community has warmly welcomed her appointment as Council President because in her capacity as City Council Member, Sara Nelson was the sole vote against the discriminatory and contentious Caste ordinance introduced by Council member Kshama Sawant, who openly admits to Trotskyite Socialist leanings. Sara Nelson took the firm position that the ordinance could generate more anti-Hindu discrimination and dissuade employers from hiring South Asians. She also noted in her official statement at that time that the ordinance was being passed without due process - bypassing normal vetting process and receiving just one public discussion. 

Castefiles director Abhijit Bagal said, "We at Castefiles are especially interested in this appointment as we have an ongoing case against the city and Mayor Harrel for the discriminatory caste ordinance. We have also noted concerning developments related to the caste ordinance and have highlighted them in a letter to Council President Sara Nelson. We shall continue to work to address the community’s concerns regarding the ordinance. We thank Council President Nelson for her rational opposition to the prejudiced Seattle caste ordinance that singled out Hindu Americans and individuals of Indian descent. She objected to it as a matter of principle, highlighting the potential damage and the absence of thorough examination. As a natural corollary of Council President Nelson's stand that the ordinance could generate more anti-Hindu discrimination and dissuade employers from hiring South Asians, Castefiles requests her to withdraw the Seattle caste ordinance." 

In its civil complaint in Federal Court, Castefiles had pointed out that the new category of `Caste' was blindly copied verbatim from `Ancestry'. The Castefiles lawsuit also pointed out the evident discriminatory animus and usage of offensive and hateful statements made by sponsors and supporters of the caste ordinance. Castefiles highlighted that people of South Asian origin were being targeted by the ordinance when the sponsor stated in her speech on January 24, 2023, while introducing the bill, “With over a 167,000 people of South Asian origin living in Washington, largely concentrated in the Greater Seattle area, the region must address caste discrimination and not allow it to remain invisible and unaddressed.”

Castefiles Founder Richa Gautam said “We remember the courage Sara Nelson showed as a lone voice questioning the Seattle City Council asking them if they had any data to support Equality Labs' and Sawant’s claims of `widespread and systemic' caste discrimination. The dangerous precedent set by Seattle is embedding unconstitutional descriptive language in the Civil Rights protected categories and we hope that the election of Sara Nelson will help refocus the Seattle City Council's attention on issues of good governance and that the Council will course correct from its far-left leanings to a more judicious approach that addresses the REAL issues at hand instead of gaslighting and grandstanding. It is greatly reassuring for Indian Americans to have strong and ethical voices standing for justice and addressing the community's concerns.”

Mayor Harrel’s forward-looking statement points out the importance of a strong voice like Sara Nelson, “Council President Nelson serves as a strong voice for critical issues facing the city, including police recruitment and retention, support for Seattle’s small businesses, Downtown revitalization, and addressing the fentanyl epidemic. Council President Nelson will bring an approach focused on serving our community, good governance, and tangible progress – common values that will serve her well in this leadership role and build consensus across the Council.”

If you are interested in understanding the truth about caste and race, please visit the Caste Files website at and become part of the conversation.

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