Warrior For Women
Nina Gupta’s life is filled with family. Her parents brought her from India when she was 4 years old, and they joined an extended clan that today stretches across the country. “My mom was one of nine, and dad was one of six,” she says. “So yes, it’s a pretty big family.”
Gupta also acknowledges that her extended clan is exceptional not just in its size, but also in one particular regard. “I’ve had no personal experience with domestic violence in my life,” she says. “I’m very fortunate to be able to say that.”
But the Morningside lawyer also knows that the victims of domestic violence, predominately women, are many and, oftentimes, silent. So she jumped at the chance to join the board of the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, the state’s largest nonprofit that works with victims and educates others on ways to prevent and recognize this form of abuse.
“I’ve always been drawn to social justice and equality issues,” she says. “To me, one of the central universal cleavages I see in virtually every place around the world is a real diminution of the value of women. Domestic violence is one of those ways; the idea that mental and physical abuse as a means of controlling women can be so effective and hidden just blows my mind.”
Being part of the PADV board is a 180 from Gupta’s work as an attorney with Nelson Mullins, located in Atlantic Station. There, her focus is on representing public schools and universities. “When I was in law school at the University of Michigan, I had no idea that schools needed lawyers until I did an internship and learned about it,” she says. “I found the work compelling. Think of it: A large, public school district is often like a billion-dollar enterprise: It faces the same issues any corporation faces, in addition to the obligations of being a public agency with specific obligations to stakeholders. So I deal with an array of things, from disability and policy to constitutional issues.”
But it was through a colleague at her law firm that Gupta, who is married with two adult stepchildren, was introduced to PADV. After meeting with other board members, she was invited to join and took a seat last July. Her initial assignment is to revive the public policy committee that will determine the organization’s legislative priorities. While she’s still in the early stages of establishing that committee, she’s tackling some tough issues.
“On paper, everyone is against domestic violence,” she says. “But Georgia is a very pro-gun rights state, and some in the DV community believe the expansion of gun rights is correlated to the violence, and that it’s worth it to curtail rights to impact DV. Others don’t see that and believe limiting access [to guns] is too high a price to pay. I believe as people of good faith we can reasonably disagree and get our hands around what our mission is.”
Despite any disagreements, Gupta believes domestic violence issues can’t be ignored.
“In America in the 21st century, it’s still a problem we’re facing. It’s an uphill battle, but one I feel personally drawn to help correct.”
Information about the Partnership Against Domestic Violence is online at padv.org
STORY: H.M. Cauley
PHOTO: Erik Meadows