Asha Castleberry-Hernandez was born and raised in Tarrytown, New York. The daughter of two working-class parents, she attended Sleepy Hollow public high school and for 21 years, her family’s apartment overlooked the iconic Tappan Zee Bridge. Three generations of Asha’s family were union members working for General Motors. Her grandmother worked at Phelps Memorial Hospital for 48 years, and her mother worked at IBM for 36 years.
Growing up in her family’s cramped apartment, Asha always dreamed of one day owning her own home. After high school, Asha graduated from Hampton University and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Asha is also a proud study abroad student studying Law and Business and mandarin in China with Syracuse University and international politics at the University of Oxford New College Program. After her completion, she was awarded a proclamation from Westchester County Board of Legislators, New York State Assembly, and Office of Mayor of New Rochelle. Asha enjoys studying languages and is proficient in Arabic and fluent in Spanish.
Public service has been a family tradition for Asha. Inspired by her Grandfather, a WWII veteran, Asha joined the US Army after 9/11. In 2012, she served on a 30-month deployment supporting U.S. Central Command in Kuwait, Iraq, and Jordan as a Sr. Advisor on Security Cooperation and the Anti-ISIS Military Campaign. Post her deployment, during the Obama Administration, she was a Special Advisor at the State Department supporting Ambassador Susan Rice’s foreign policy platform and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations working on Peacekeeping Missions in the African Continent. Ingrained in Asha’s DNA is also Leadership. She is now a Major in the US Army Reserves. Her last unit proudly provided Security Operation at Indian Point, Croton NY.
Presently, Asha is National Security Expert, Combat Veteran, Professor, and Mother. She teaches Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy at Baruch College. Asha was a Lecturer at Fordham University teaching American Foreign Policy, International Politics, U.S. Security Policy, International Political Economy, and United Nations Peacekeeping. She also taught Congress and Foreign Policy at George Washington University.
Well, respected for her expertise, Asha has appeared on many media outlets including CNN, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, CBS News, Vox.com, Al-Jazeera English, Huffington Post, Forbes.com, and I24 News. Featured in the Hill, Washington Post: The Lily, NPR, Blavity, CSPAN, Lima Charlie News, Project Syndicate, Elle.com, Just Security, The National Interest, and The Root.com. Asha has also published over two dozen publications on Foreign Policy.
Asha has achieved many accolades since her rise as a National Security Expert. She is a 2019 Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, a Defense Council Member at the Truman National Security Project, an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project, Duco Expert, New Leaders Council Fellow, 2016 Aspen Ideas Scholar and a proud board member of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS). Asha was recently awarded the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs Robert J. Meyers Fellows fund to research the rise of populism in the defense community. Recognized as a New America Foundation’s Top 35 under 35 Black National Security Experts and Young Professional in Foreign Policy Top 99 and under 33 in Foreign Policy. She received recognition for her military service from NYS Comptroller, Thomas D. Dinapoli.
Asha is no novice to the political arena. In 2016, she served as an Advisor for Hillary For America's Middle East Foreign Policy Team and Veteran & Military Families Team. In 2010, she was the Veterans Coordinator for the Gillibrand for Senate Campaign. In addition, she served on the Democratic National Committee Veterans & Military Families Council.
Asha understands that National Security expands to and includes urgent local issues that plague the working class in our community. As a part of the working class, Asha first protested for a teacher’s pay increase as a member of SEIU local 200. Her eyes opened to more domestic issues such as raising the federal minimum wage to at least $15 per hour, reinstating the SALT deduction so that middle class families can afford to stay in their homes and retire with dignity. Asha believes we need to end mass incarceration with real criminal justice reform and is committed to standing up to the on-going attack on women’s reproductive healthcare, to promoting a new improved Green New Deal, fixing affordable housing, supporting responsible immigration reform, eradicating student loan debt, veteran rights, gun violence, extremism and saving social security. In addition, Asha is determined to put an end to the revolving door of corruption in Washington.
Asha wants to ensure that working families can thrive in our district. She is committed to be the bold voice of leadership that NY-17 deserves. She is READY TO SERVE and if elected, she will be the first African American female veteran in Congress.
Asha and her family have made their home in Elmsford where she and her husband, Vladimir, have a daughter, Aaliyah.