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Honoring South Asian Trailblazers in Civil Rights, STEAM, and More

Honoring South Asian Trailblazers in Civil Rights, STEAM, and More

We are inspired by South Asian heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, Neeti Kailas, and Salman Khan among countless others. To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, check out 10 South Asians who have forged a path for many others to follow.

This blog was co-authored with Ashmani Jha, Founder and Strategic Projects Chair of Southasiaforce.

During the month of May, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by honoring South Asian and Asian Pacific Islander trailblazers who have forged a path for many others to follow. We are inspired by South Asian heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi, the pioneering innovation of Neeti Kailas, and the philanthropy and vision of Salman Khan among countless others.

Equality is a core value at Salesforce. We are committed to working together with our employees, customers, partners, and peers to use our platform to drive change as we continue on this path to Equality for all. This includes using our voices to elevate those who have been typically underrepresented. As Malala Yousafzai says, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

This month, we’ve partnered with Southasiaforce, our employee resource group for the South Asian community and their allies, to pay homage to trailblazers who have broken down barriers and paved the way for others. Representation matters in changing our societal narrative and these icons have reimagined a world where so many can now envision themselves.  

Below are 10 remarkable trailblazers in civil rights, science, technology and more who have defied stereotypes and blazed new trails — within their fields and for the entire community:


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian activist and leader of the Indian independence movement.
Neeti Kailas is a pioneer in industrial design in medical technology for newborn babies in India.
Freddie Mercury was a British singer-songwriter of Parsi heritage, a record producer and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen.
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for women's empowerment and education rights, and is the youngest Nobel prize laureate.
Mohini Bhardwaj DeFreitas is the first Indian-American gymnast, and the second Indian-American athlete in any sport, to medal at an Olympics.
Amat Gopal Bose was an American academic and entrepreneur. An Electrical engineer, sound engineer, and a professor at MIT.
Mindy Kaling is an actor, writer, producer, and director. She was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2012.
Muhammad Yunus is a Nobel Peace Prize winner promoting gender equality through microfinance in Bangladesh.
Shirin Ebadi, J.D. is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights.
Salman Khan is the founder and chief executive officer of Khan Academy, a not-for-profit with a mission of providing a free, world-class education for everyone.

While there’s still more work to be done on the path to Equality for all — we can all do our part to help move society forward. Learn more about Salesforce’s commitment to creating a more Equal world and join us on this journey —

Isabel Gonçalves Equality Content Manager

Isabel is an Equality Content Manager at Salesforce. With a background in journalism and content marketing, she uses storytelling and her passion for diversity and inclusion to share impactful stories. She leads the Equality content strategy and explores ways to innovate and share Equality content via Trailhead modules, blogs, research reports, social media, podcasts, and events.

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