Shah and family enjoy autumn in a corn maze at a local PG County farm.

When Shivali Shah and her husband, Deepak, joined the Mount Rainier community in 2005, they were attracted by the sense of community, the city’s commitment to the arts and to environmentally sustainable practices. For an artist, a social entrepreneur, and a consummate upcycler, it seemed a perfect fit.

During her ten years as a Mount Rainier citizen, Shivali worked tirelessly as an advocate for women’s and immigrant rights — both as an activist shaping policy in Congress and as a self-employed lawyer helping battered immigrant women and other exploited immigrants with nowhere else to turn.

Shah and son, Devan, volunteer at Busstop Bangladesh, a project of Margaret Boozer-Red Dirt Studios Artist, Monica Jahan Bose, in front of City Hall.

Shivali grew up in New York City and, later, in Englewood, NJ. The eldest of four, when she was not taking care of much younger siblings, she worked in her parents’ small business. Shivali is a graduate of Columbia University, receiving a BA with a dual major in Economics and Political Science.  She received her law degree from Duke Law School.

During law school, Shivali co-founded Kiran, the first organization for South Asians experiencing domestic violence in North Carolina.  Since then, she successfully fought for the first-ever India to US extradition of an alleged murderer. Now incarcerated, he is serving 15 years for the manslaughter of a young woman in Florida.

During a Duke v. Carolina game, Devan cheers as Duke, mom’s alma mater, scores. Dad, a UNC alum, is less enthusiastic.

In addition to her case work, she also has legislative experience, successfully advocating for a provision in the 2005 Violence Against Women Act to provide relief to battered immigrant women on the H-4 dependent spouse visa in addition to raising awareness about their silent pain.  Prior to returning to her first love of helping people directly, she also worked as an intellectual property litigator and taught Women, Public Policy, and the Law at Rutgers University.


Deepak and band accompany Joe’s Movement Emporium artist and political asylee, Issa Nyaphaga during his “performance painting” at H&F Gallery (formerly near the Mount Rainier Traffic Circle). Shah (not pictured) addresses audience on the plight of black artists in the US and Africa.

While living in North Carolina, Shivali met her husband, Deepak, at a classical music performance. A musician, Deepak is a part of Nootana, a DC based music and dance company. He also plays live music at Joe’s Movement Emporium during Brooke Kidd’s Saturday morning yoga class. As Shivali and Deepak’s family has grown with the addition of Devan in 2011, so too has Shivali’s passion for helping Mount Rainier continue to strive to achieve its vision to move forward while retaining the best aspects of its character.

DC Pride

Shah & her son (in his own “stroller float”) march in the DC Pride parade.

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