By Stephanie Boulos and Casey Rawlings
SAN JOSE, CA – Sajid Khan began his campaign for District Attorney of Santa Clara County in early July, and one of his main goals was to ensure racial justice and foster an end to mass incarceration.
When Khan’s campaign launched on July 11, hundreds of donations were received by the end of the month. Astoundingly, his campaign raised a cumulative of six figures within 20 days.
Khan has been endorsed by several prominent leaders in Santa Clara County, adding to his successful fundraising efforts. Among them include Real Justice PAC, Sunrise Silicon Valley, and even retired Judge LaDoris Hazard Cordell, according to a statement released by his campaign.
With the people of Santa Clara looking for new leadership and reform, Khan is hoping for the opportunity to address systemic inequities plaguing Santa Clara’s criminal justice system and foster comprehensive reform.
As he describes in his mission statement, Khan plans to “honor victims of crimes, hold police accountable when they violate the law, tell the truth about and undo systemic racism, manifest Black Lives Matter, and bring our criminal legal system in line with basic notions of justice and humanity.”
Khan said he plans to ensure collective wellbeing through a non-punitive, more holistic approach. He explained his strategy, stating, “instead of measuring public safety by prison terms, I will fight mass incarceration and address the root causes of crime to alleviate suffering and heal our community.”
Addressing the root causes of crime, Khan believes, is the key to communal safety and wellbeing. As he summarizes, “we cannot incarcerate our way to public safety.”
In addition to his campaign goals, Khan would become the first person of color to serve as District Attorney in the 171 year history of the office, making history.
Khan posted a video online in late July thanking his supporters for their contributions and expressing his excitement for his plans, announcing, “I’m so thankful for our community- for all of you- for contributing, for showing your belief in me and belief in this movement, and your commitment to bringing real, transformational change to the criminal legal system in Santa Clara County.”
Sajid Khan is a lifelong resident of Santa Clara County, having lived in Milpitas and San Jose. He is the son of two Muslim immigrants from Madras, India, and is a dedicated Muslim.
Sajid attended high school in San Jose, and then continued on to the University of California Berkeley, where he studied Political Science. After graduating, he proceeded to attend law school in San Francisco at the University of California Hastings.
Growing up, Khan’s father was a physicist in the semiconductor industry, who later established a mosque and a school in Santa Clara. His mother worked as a laboratory scientist at O’Connor Hospital, inculcating a passion for helping others.
Khan credits his parents with instilling in him a dual faith in service and justice. Specifically, he commends them for exposing him to the life and teachings of Malcolm X, facilitating his goal to defend civil rights.
As his parents taught him, Khan is dedicated to standing with the movement for Black Lives.
As he promised on his campaign trail, “I will stop seeking disproportionate sentences under the three strikes law that devastate communities of color. I will end our racist war on drugs. I will fight to end our money bail system that separates families and disproportionately impacts poor and marginalized people.”
Khan will have the chance to make his dreams become a reality next year in the 2022 election. He will be the first opponent of the current District Attorney Jeff Rosen; a three-term incumbent who will have his first re-election test since he took office.