Special to the Vanguard
San Jose, CA – Sajid Khan has been amassing the support of progressive leaders in his battle for Santa Clara DA in 2022. This week he received the support of Manhattan public defender Eliza Orlins.
Orlins, a former contestant on the CBS show “Survivor,” has advocated as a public defender for people who have been historically disadvantaged by the legal system in New York. Earlier this year, Orlins ran a unique, people-powered campaign for District Attorney in Manhattan. Through her groundbreaking campaign, Orlins championed measures designed to reverse mass incarceration including the decriminalization of sex work.
“Public defenders are uniquely situated to understand the injustices perpetrated by district attorneys, especially in the counties in which they practice,” said public defender Eliza Orlins. “As Santa Clara County District Attorney, Sajid will build a justice system that ensures the dignity and safety of ALL people. I’m so excited Sajid is taking this on and I unequivocally support him for district attorney.”
For the last 13 years, Khan has been a public defender serving Santa Clara County. He has fought for people’s constitutional rights and against systemic racism and mass incarceration. He has sat in the county jails and juvenile hall, representing countless individuals.
Khan was born in San Jose to Muslim immigrants from Madras, India. Khan’s mother worked as a laboratory scientist at O’Connor Hospital and his late father was a physicist in the semiconductor industry, who established a mosque and later a school, both in Santa Clara. The mosque, Muslim Community Association, is where Sajid worships today. The school, Granada Islamic School, currently educates Sajid’s two sons. Khan’s parents instilled in him a dual faith in service and justice, inspiring him to pursue a career defending civil rights.
Public defender Eliza Orlins joins a growing list of justice advocates and organizations who have endorsed Sajid Khan’s campaign, including the Real Justice PAC, South Bay Progressive Alliance, former Congressmember Mike Honda, California Assemblymember Alex Lee, and retired Santa Clara County Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell.
“I am so grateful to have Eliza Orlins’ support in my campaign for district attorney,” said Sajid Khan. “As fellow public defenders, we are all too familiar with the generational harms inflicted on communities of color by our current criminal legal system and carceral prosecutors. Eliza, both in her career as a public defender and during her inspiring campaign for Manhattan District Attorney, has shown that she is not afraid to fight against the system and give of herself for transformational change. As Santa Clara County District Attorney, I will advance our shared goals to dismantle institutions that perpetuate mass incarceration and systemic racism and build a justice system that protects the dignity and safety of all people.”