Indian American becomes first Sikh to become Town Judge of Brighton, New York


The Town of Brighton in New York got its first Indian American criminal judge. Born to Indian immigrants in the United States he took office as a Justice in the Brighton Town Court on January 1.

A law firm partner Vikram Singh Vilkhu, a Democrat, has been elected as the Brighton Town Judge, making him the first Sikh judge in the state’s history. “Congratulations to Judge-Elect Vikram Singh Vilkhu of Brighton, New York, for his recent election victory! Judge-elect Vilkhu is the first Sikh elected in New York State’s history,” said Sikh Coalition in a statement on ‘X’.

“Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority in New York. Expanding representation in local government is a significant step forward,” said Senator Cooney. “Expanding cultural diversity in our elected officials is beneficial to our entire community—and we know it’s especially impactful for young people to see faces that look like theirs, to see their culture represented in all levels of government.”

Vilkhu is the eldest son of Sarbjit and Ravinder Vilkhu, two Indian immigrants to the United States. He was born and raised in upstate New York and attended Emory University where he was a double major in Religion and Anthropology. After graduating he worked for the American Civil Liberties Union creating a national hotline for victims of racial profiling and hate crimes following the 9/11 attacks. Vilkhu attended law school at Case Western Reserve University where he received numerous awards and distinctions for his classroom and extracurricular activities. In addition to graduating first in his class in several subject areas, the University awarded Vilkhu the William Wallace Award as the class’s finest trial advocate.  He was inducted into the Order of Barristers, a national honorary organization for trial and appellate argument.

“I am proud to be the first Indian American trial judge elected in upstate’s history and the first Sikh elected in New York State’s history,” said Brighton Town Justice-Elect Vilkhu who is the lead trial attorney at Rochster-based law firm Relin, Goldstein, and Crane LLP. “As Senator Cooney inspired me to serve, I hope my election inspires others from groups that traditionally have not run for public office to make that leap and run. We are used to seeing Indian American leaders in medicine, academia, and business but we are now seeing talented Indian Americans choose to serve their fellow citizens in elected office with the same level of skill and aptitude they bring to other fields.”


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