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Kavita Das

Freelance Writer

New York

Kavita Das

I worked in the social change sector for fifteen years on issues ranging from homelessness to public health disparities to most recently, racial justice. Now, I'm an award-winning writer focusing on culture, race, social change, feminism, and their intersections, featured in Longreads, NBC News, The Atlantic, Quartz, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Aerogram, and other outlets.

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Recovering My Fifth Sense

Kavita Das recalls learning to self-advocate as a patient with a cleft palate — and as a child in a family full of doctors.
Longreads Link to Story
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Passing and Being Passed Over in the United States

The experiences of passing chronicled in We Wear the Mask offer a prism through which to understand the numerous ways we all pass in our personal and professional lives.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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Selective Perception of Disinformation

Whatever the framing or nomenclature, there is no doubt this country is embroiled in an imperative and visceral moral struggle for the very human rights its founding documents hold “unalienable.” Given this real struggle, can we justify our continued engagement in an ideological culture war?
The Kenyon Review Link to Story
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Red Ink of Revisionist History

Ultimately, to truly move forward as a nation, we must embrace shared ideals shaped by the crucible of a true and shared understanding of our nation’s history, an understanding that acknowledges not just our triumphant moments, but moments when we fell gravely short of upholding these ideals. And to arrive at this shared understanding of our nation’s true history, we must revisit our classrooms, where many of us first learned about American history, albeit a version which often was incomplete and incongruent. We must follow the trail of the red ink of revisionist history that fills many of our textbooks, classrooms, and consequently, our own understanding of our national identity.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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This Group Shares Oral Histories to Help Readers ‘Better Understand the World’

Just after graduate school, writer Mimi Lok worked on a project that validated her belief in the power of storytelling. A volunteer researcher and interviewer for an anthology called “Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives,” Lok collected the stories of refugees. “It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and was a chance, at last, to really ‘go deep’ with people’s stories in a way I couldn’t before,” Lok told NBC News.
NBC News Link to Story
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India has changed a lot in 70 years. But arranged marriage remains the norm.

When non-Indians ask me if I had an arranged marriage, I sometimes slyly reply: “in a sense.”. I’m an Indian American born and raised in the United States, married to someone who grew up in India. But it was our mutual friend, a white woman from Oregon — not our families — who played matchmaker. When I explain this to them, I know it is not the answer they expected.
The Washington Post Link to Story
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Immigration and Infertility: Talking with Shanthi Sekaran

A central conflict in Lucky Boy—the loss of parental rights by immigrants held in US detention centers—was at the heart of “Shattered Families,” a 2011 report I helped push out into the world when I worked at Race Forward, a racial justice organization.
The Rumpus Link to Story
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A Virulent Privilege

"What is especially telling about this data is the stark contrast between the race and class of unvaccinated and undervaccinated children. It underscores dual narratives: one of choice, one of circumstance. It also begs the question: would this movement have been allowed to grow, endangering the lives of all children, if it was largely populated by poor families of color rather than driven by middle-class white families? Would its members have been generously perceived as misguided but well-intentioned rather than misinformed and dangerous? Ultimately, these individuals working to undermine the protection offered by vaccinations to our nation’s children have been protected by their own race and class privilege—benefiting from another type of herd immunity."
Nat. Brut Link to Story
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Lion Shares Compelling Story Of Transnational Adoption

Lion has received several award nominations including Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress for Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. Kidman gives a tempered yet heart wrenching performance as Saroo’s adoptive mother, and Patel eschews the over-earnestness seen in some of his previous roles to give his most nuanced performance to date. But the most powerful performance in the movie comes from Sunny Pawar, the eight-year-old Indian child actor who plays young Saroo, navigating his way through a harrowing journey that takes him halfway around the globe.
The Aerogram Link to Story
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The Perils of Denialism on the Left

This strain of denialism might not as be as nihilistic as the one afflicting the far right, but it still constitutes a refusal to accept reality. Unlike the denialism of the right, which employs crutches like religion, the denialism of the left is characterized by a type of hyper-rationalism, which relies on selectively curated facts. And this strain of denialism helped lose Democrats this election and is the cause of liberals’ shock over this loss.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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Anoushka Shankar and the New York Philharmonic Is a Debut 35 Years in the Making

Anoushka Shankar is not new to performing her father's compositions. But, because the piece includes several interludes of improvised sitar solo, there's opportunity to make it her own. "Having played it for a few years, in the beginning I really focused on improvising and 'what would my father have done' in order to try and be true to the piece," she said. "Now, I don't do 'what would my father have done' so much as feel confident that I know that, and ask how I can bring myself into it."
NBC News Link to Story
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Biography: Where White Lives Matter

OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES, demographic changes have significantly altered our country’s population, and the election of our first Black president has signaled the beginnings of a major sociocultural shift. Yet biography, the genre responsible for chronicling the lives of significant and relevant individuals, remains staggeringly undiverse.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story

About

Kavita Das

Kavita Das worked in social change for fifteen years on issues ranging from homelessness, to public health disparities, to racial justice, and now focuses on writing about culture, race, feminism, social change, and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in Longreads,The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Colorlines, and elsewhere. Her first book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar (Harper Collins India, Fall 2018), is a biography about the Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer, who played a pivotal role in bringing Indian music to the West. Connect with Kavita on Twitter @kavitamix

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Skills

  • Project Management
  • Marketing (MBA)
  • Strategic Communications
  • Writing