Person

Deepak Bhargava

Nationality:

American

Organization:

CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

Born:

1968

Deepak Bhargava is a career left-of-center activist and community organizer who worked for 16 years as executive director and president of the Center for Community Change (CCC), a left-of-center national organization that coordinates local community organizers. Bhargava led the organization to focus on liberal expansionist immigration policy and ethnic minority interests, with the group becoming “a major force in the social justice landscape.” [1]

Bhargava is an advocate of left-progressive “social justice,” identity politics, and economic redistribution. He has published articles in The Nation,[2] the New York Times,[3] and the American Prospect. [4]

Bhargava was a harsh critic of President Barack Obama’s immigration policies from the liberal expansionist left, particularly his administration’s deportations of illegal immigrants. After Obama halted the deportation of certain classes of illegal immigrants in 2012 by executive order, Bhargava became a defender of the Obama administration, and was arrested in a protest against Congress while it tried to stop the order.

Background

Bhargava was born in Bangalore, India, and emigrated to New York City as a child. [5]

From 1986 through 1990, Bhargava attended Harvard University where he attained a BA in social studies and graduated summa cum laude. [6]

Bhargava lives in Washington DC with his partner, Harry Hanbury. [7] Hanbury is the president of Harry Hanbury Productions and is a documentary filmmaker who has worked for numerous prominent left-of-center activist and political organizations, including the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the Campaign for America’s Future, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Gamaliel Foundation, Gender PAC, the Human Rights Campaign, the Industrial Areas Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Alliance for Justice. [8]

Career

Bhargava worked with ACORN, a controversial left-wing community organizing network, for ten years, eventually becoming the organization’s legislative director and top government affairs executive. [9] In 2009, after Bhargava had left, ACORN was accused of voter registration fraud in eleven states, and videos were released of its members appearing to encourage people to engage in criminal activity. ACORN dissolved soon after. [10]

In 1994, Bhargava began working as the director of public policy at the Center for Community Change. [11]

In 2000, Bhargava directed the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support, a coalition of nonprofits advocating for greater welfare spending. [12]

In 2002, Bhargava became executive director and president of the CCC and Center for Community Change Action, the group’s lobbying affiliate. He would remain in the positions until he left the CCC in 2018. [13][14]

In 2019, Bhargava became a distinguished lecturer of urban studies at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. [15] The university lists his areas of expertise are “social justice advocacy, organizing and non-profit management.” [16]

Board Seats

Bhargava sits on the board of the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, the Discount Foundation,[17] and the Bauman Family Foundation. [18] He is on the national advisory board of the Open Society Institute. [19] He sits on the editorial board of The Nation. [20] Bhargava is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. [21]

Bhargava is a past board member of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the Applied Research Center, the League of Education Voters,[22] and the Open Society Foundations founded by George Soros. [23][24]

Center for Community Change

As policy director and later executive director, Bhargava focused the Center for Community Change primarily on liberal expansionist immigration. He also expanded the organization’s board and staff to make the CCC younger and more diverse. [25]

In 2000, he formed the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of nonprofits supporting liberal immigration policies. [26]

In 2004, Bhargava established the Community Voters Project, a program to increase voter turnout rates among low-income voters. [27] He also created Generation Change to recruit and train community organizers. [28]

In 2012, Bhargava met with President Obama in the White House to discuss immigration after the president received intense criticism from former ideological allies over his deportation policies. Bhargava told Obama that his policies had been a “moral catastrophe” and urged the president to use executive orders to halt deportations. [29] When Obama suspended the deportation of certain classes of illegal immigrants soon after the meeting, the Washington Post credited Bhargava. [30]

In 2013, Bhargava and the CCC managed a video contest for the Obama administration to encourage more young Americans to sign up for health insurance compliant with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). [31]

Immigration Protest and Arrest

In August 2013, through FIRM, Bhargava organized and led a pro-immigration protest in Washington DC. To a crowd of hundreds, he spoke: “We have marched, we have rallied, we have prayed, we have written, we have called and now it is time to take it up another notch.” [32]

At midday, protestors sat in the street of Independence Avenue in front of the Capitol Building and refused to move. At the same time, protests delivered cantaloupes to 200 Congressmen who voted to halt Obama’s executive order to stop the deportation of DREAMers. Controversial immigration-restrictionist U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) had said that illegal immigrants running across the border had “calves the size of cantaloupes.” [33]

Bhargava and numerous other protestors were arrested, including AFL-CIO vice president Arlene Holt Baker, secretary treasurer of the Service Employees International Union Eliseo Medina, and president of the Communications Workers of America Larry Cohen. Most protestors were released a few hours later, but 15 more were arrested later in the day. [34]

References

  1. “Deepak Bhargava to Leave Center for Community Change Will Remain with Organization through 2018 Election.” Community Change. May 21, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://communitychange.org/page/deepak-bhargava-to-leave-center-for-community-change/. ^
  2. “Deepak Bhargava.” The Nation. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.thenation.com/authors/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  3. Bhargava, Deepak. “Are We Experienced Organizing Principles.” New York Times. September 13, 2008. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/opinion/14bhargava.html. ^
  4. “Deepak Bhargava.” The American Prospect. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://prospect.org/topics/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  5. “Deepak Bhargava.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://stproject.org/lio_directory/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  6. “Deepak Bhargava.” Linkedin. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepak-bhargava-a5a6a3155/. ^
  7. “Deepak Bhargava.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://stproject.org/lio_directory/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  8. “Harry Hanbury.” Huffington Post. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.huffpost.com/author/harry-hanbury. ^
  9. “Nonprofit executive overseeing the White House’s Obamacare youth video contest is the disgraced ACORN group’s former top lobbyist.” Daily Mail. August 19, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2397611/Nonprofit-executive-overseeing-White-Houses-Obamacare-youth-video-contest-disgraced-ACORN-groups-lobbyist.html. ^
  10. “Nonprofit executive overseeing the White House’s Obamacare youth video contest is the disgraced ACORN group’s former top lobbyist.” Daily Mail. August 19, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2397611/Nonprofit-executive-overseeing-White-Houses-Obamacare-youth-video-contest-disgraced-ACORN-groups-lobbyist.html. ^
  11. “Deepak Bhargava to Leave Center for Community Change Will Remain with Organization through 2018 Election.” Community Change. May 21, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://communitychange.org/page/deepak-bhargava-to-leave-center-for-community-change/. ^
  12. “Deepak Bhargava.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://stproject.org/lio_directory/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  13. “Deepak Bhargava.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://stproject.org/lio_directory/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  14. “Deepak Bhargava to Leave Center for Community Change Will Remain with Organization through 2018 Election.” Community Change. May 21, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://communitychange.org/page/deepak-bhargava-to-leave-center-for-community-change/. ^
  15. “Deepak Bhargava.” Linkedin. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepak-bhargava-a5a6a3155/. ^
  16. “Deepak Bhargava.” CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://slu.cuny.edu/people/7559/. ^
  17. “Deepak Bhargava.” Justice Works. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://justiceworksny.org/2012/06/deepak-bhargava/570. ^
  18. “Board of Advisors.” Bauman Foundation. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.baumanfoundation.org/about-us/board. ^
  19. “Deepak Bhargava.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://stproject.org/lio_directory/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  20. “Deepak Bhargava.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://stproject.org/lio_directory/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  21. “Our Team.” Roosevelt Institute. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://rooseveltinstitute.org/about/our-team/. ^
  22. “Deepak Bhargava.” Social Transformation Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://stproject.org/lio_directory/deepak-bhargava/. ^
  23. “Boards.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/boards. ^
  24. “Deepak Bhargava on Community Organizing.” Open Society Foundations. May 18, 2009. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/deepak-bhargava-on-community-organizing. ^
  25. “Deepak Bhargava.” Justice Works. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://justiceworksny.org/2012/06/deepak-bhargava/570. ^
  26. “Since 2000, FIRM has been the meeting place and united voice of the dynamic grassroots movement advocating for comprehensive immigration reform and the civil rights of immigrants in America.” FIRM. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://fairimmigration.org/about. ^
  27. “Helping to register voters in 2019-2020.” Community Voters Project. Accessed May 23, 2020. http://communityvotersproject.org/about. ^
  28. “Deepak Bhargava.” Justice Works. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://justiceworksny.org/2012/06/deepak-bhargava/570. ^
  29. “President Obama bristles when he is the target of activist tactics he once used.” Washington Post. June 10, 2012. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-obama-bristles-when-he-is-the-target-of-activist-tactics-he-once-used/2012/06/09/gJQA0i7JRV_story.html. ^
  30. “Community Organizers in Charge: Three who pack a political punch.” Capital Research Center. September 1, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/community-organizers-in-charge-three-who-pack-a-political-punch/. ^
  31. “Nonprofit executive overseeing the White House’s Obamacare youth video contest is the disgraced ACORN group’s former top lobbyist.” Daily Mail. August 19, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2397611/Nonprofit-executive-overseeing-White-Houses-Obamacare-youth-video-contest-disgraced-ACORN-groups-lobbyist.html. ^
  32. Preston, Julia. “Advocates for Immigrants Up the Ante in a Capitol Sit-In That Brings Arrests.” New York Times. August 1, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/us/immigration-leaders-arrested-in-capitol-sit-in.html. ^
  33. Preston, Julia. “Advocates for Immigrants Up the Ante in a Capitol Sit-In That Brings Arrests.” New York Times. August 1, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/us/immigration-leaders-arrested-in-capitol-sit-in.html. ^
  34. Preston, Julia. “Advocates for Immigrants Up the Ante in a Capitol Sit-In That Brings Arrests.” New York Times. August 1, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/us/immigration-leaders-arrested-in-capitol-sit-in.html. ^
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