Indian-American political activist, U.S. Army officer from Michigan appointed to top position at Food Bank for NYC

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Hari Vutukuru, a native of Detroit, Michigan, was recently appointed director of operations at the Food Bank for NYC. (Photo: LinkedIn)

An Indian-American U.S. Army officer and political activist, originally from Michigan, has been appointed recently as director of operations at Food Bank for New York City.

Hari Vutukuru, a native of Detroit, Michigan, begins in his new position today (July 24), the Food Bank press office confirmed to Desi Talk. Vutukuru’s LinkedIn profile shows he is also a Lieutenant who serves as ‘Company Executive Officer’ in the Transportation Corps at the U.S. Army National Guard. Vutukuru did not respond to queries from Desi talk by press time.

Since its founding in 1983, the Food Bank has served an estimated 1 Billion New Yorkers, according to its website. Prior to joining the Food Bank, Vutukuru was manager of business operations and community relations at Success Academy Charter Schools of New York, from October 2017 to April 2018. The SACSS says it is the largest and highest-performing free public charter school network in New York City. Vutukuru has also worked in various capacities with the advocacy organization Everytown For Gun Safety.

According to his bio on the website of the Tisch School of the Arts in New York University, from where he graduated in 2015 with a Masters in Arts Politics, Vutukuru is a native of Detroit. He is described as a “cultural policy advocate, community organizer, video producer & writer, progressive political consultant, and military officer.”

First drawn to politics during President Barack Obama’s campaign for office in 2008, where he worked as an intern in Obama For America in Detroit, Vutukuru has worked on numerous local and state campaigns in Michigan, according to his profile in Tisch. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, he enlisted in the Michigan Army National Guard and joined the Army ROTC program. He also worked as a student community organizer for the Detroit Action Commonwealth, a nonprofit that tackles challenges of poverty, homelessness, and injustice.

At Tisch, Vutukuru studied cultural policy and governance, new media studies and political communication, international political economy, and writing, the school website says. Upon graduating from NYU, he was selected to participate in the NYU Center for Art and Public Policy’s summer fellowship and started work and research to create a cultural plan for the beleaguered city whee he came from, modeled off of recent legislation that was passed in Chicago and New York City, the bio says.

Vutukuru also did an internship in the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in Washington, D.C.

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