Judge Sandill Meets YLDP Students


YLDP students with Judge R.K. Sandill

By Tarini Kumar

HOUSTON: On Saturday, April 7, the students of YLDP met with Honorable Judge Ravi Kumar Sandill at the Harris County Courthouse.  Judge Sandill is the only person of South Asian decent to hold a high-ranking public office in the state of Texas.


Judge Sandill was born in Canada to immigrant parents from India.  His father later joined the Military, and as a result he moved around quite a bit as a child from Canada to India, to Philadelphia. His parents eventually ended up in Detroit, while a young Judge Sandill lived in Toronto with his grandparents for schooling reasons. He completed his high school education in England, and attended the University of Texas at Austin where he received an undergraduate degree in government.  I remember Judge Sandill recounting that during his childhood, living in military bases as well as in Canada, he did not have much exposure to other Indians.  However, when he attended UT, he was suddenly surrounded by people of his culture and color.

I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to my own life from Judge Sandill.  My father moved from India to Canada before settling in Houston with his parents. My family later moved to Philadelphia for a brief period of time before returning back to Houston.  And like Judge Sandill, I am attending the University of Texas at Austin next fall.  However, unlike Judge Sandill, I grew up around a plethora of Indians, and I have a very strong resonance with my culture in that sense.

The main topic of Judge Sandill’s talk was about optimism, and how Judge Sandhill’s optimism allowed him to persevere through the life threatening cancer he was diagnosed with when he was just 27 years of age.  But the main thing that stood out to me about Judge Sandill was his humility.  He opened his talk with a piece of advice.  He told us that you cannot believe it when people tell you are great.  For me this meant that you cannot just take someone’s word that you are great because there is not an endpoint and you have to continuously work to better yourself. This connected to a later part of his talk, where he was talking about how he could not comprehend how people could hate things they did not understand.  Too many times we are quick to judge others based on only our own experience, and the things that were told to us, which can often lead to an incorrect judgments.  I found these two pieces of advice to be what stood out to me most during the course of Judge Sandill’s talk.