Zahir Janmohamed was born and raised in Sacramento, California and his parents are Gujarati Indians from Tanzania who moved to the US in 1972.
He earned his bachelors degree in political science at UC Berkeley, where he taught in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People class, and his masters degree in public policy at UCLA, where he was a PPIA/Woodrow Wilson for students of color.
From 2003 to 2011, Janmohamed worked in Washington DC, mostly at Amnesty International, where he was the Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. While at Amnesty, Janmohamed testified in front of the US Congress and appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera, CBC, Fox News, NPR, and many other outlets. In 2009, he was awarded a UN Community Foundation Award for his commitment to human rights. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the senior foreign policy aide to Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) during Ellison’s tenure on the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Janmohamed then moved to Ahmedabad India from 2011 to 2015 where he worked as a free-lance journalist. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, The Nation, Guernica, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. He has also received writing fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Norman Mailer Center for Writers, and the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. He most recently taught a class in nonfiction writing at The Attic Institute in Portland, where he remains an adjunct teaching fellow.
He is also the co-founder and the co-host of Racist Sandwich, a podcast about food, race, gender, and class.
Gender Pronouns: He/Him/His