Shekar Krishnan is the NYC Council Member for District 25, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, Queens, two of the most diverse immigrant communities in the world. He is the first Indian-American ever elected to the City Council in NYC history. Shekar is also Chair of the Council’s Committee On Parks and Recreation. He negotiated the highest budget ever for NYC Parks. As Parks Chair, Shekar has approached access to parks and expanding green space as a key component of social, racial, and immigrant justice.
Jackson Heights and Elmhurst are home to thousands of essential workers—many of whom are immigrants—who have carried this city forward during the pandemic. Shekar has championed a number of issues affecting our most vulnerable communities. He has been on the front lines fighting to: make sure the NYC government protects our taxi workers; secure badly needed resources for public hospitals like Elmhurst Hospital; ensure that New York City treats housing as as human right; end the practice of solitary confinement at Rikers Island; and expand public space for neighborhoods like his own that lack it. Shekar has been a champion for the 34th Avenue Open Street, 26 blocks of pedestrian space in Jackson Heights that is the gold standard of open streets across NYC. He is also working with Elmhurst Hospital to open a new infectious disease clinic, successfully advocated for Elmhurst’s Frank O’Connor Playground to be selected by the Parks Department as the Queens park slated for a full renovation under the citywide Community Parks Initiative, and built a much-needed dog run in the community.
Before his election to City Council, Shekar was a long-time community activist in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst and civil rights lawyer fighting housing discrimination. He co-founded the legal services organization Communities Resist, a legal services organization highly acclaimed citywide for its community-rooted, intersectional approach to housing and racial justice in North Brooklyn and Queens. Shekar began his legal career with the landmark Broadway Triangle fair housing struggle against the City of New York, a successful case challenging a rezoning under the Fair Housing Act. He also co-founded Friends of Diversity Plaza. Located on the border of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Diversity Plaza has become a national symbol of how public space can bring people together.
Shekar is the son of immigrants from South India who made enormous sacrifices and worked tirelessly to build a life for their family in this country. He is also a father of two small children, who can often be seen biking or scooting up and down the open 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, and husband to Zoe, an immigration public defender and reproductive justice advocate.