Rishi Khalsa, Deputy Director for Communications

Rishi Khalsa was appointed as Deputy Director for Communications at the Civil Rights Department by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 1, 2023. He is a skilled communicator with experience leading government communications on a wide array of issues, including civil rights, labor, housing, human trafficking, data initiatives, immigration, and police oversight.

Prior to his appointment, Rishi was a Press Secretary at the California Department of Justice (DOJ), where he served under both Attorney General Becerra and Attorney General Bonta. During his time at DOJ, Rishi worked with state and national coalitions in support of the state’s defense of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before the U.S. Supreme Court, efforts to address an alarming rise in reports of hate violence in California and across the country, and numerous initiatives to protect civil rights in public accommodations, housing, education, and employment.

Rishi was also an Assistant Press Secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2018 to 2019 and served as an Executive Fellow there from 2017 to 2018. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica from 2013 to 2015. Rishi earned a Master of Development Practice degree from the University of California, Berkeley and received his undergraduate degree from California State University, East Bay.

Communication Center: 800-884-1684 (voice), 800-700-2320 (TTY) or
California's Relay Service at 711 | contact.center@calcivilrights.ca.gov