Amardeep Singh Kaleka was born in 1978 in Patiala - a city located in the Punjab region of Northern India. In 1982, as dangerous tension began to mount in the area over the "Khalistan" separatist movement, Amar's father decided to leave the country with his wife and two young sons.
Following the path of a well settled uncle who lived in Germantown, Wisconsin, Amar's family moved to the North side of Milwaukee. This area had been termed “Little Beirut” by locals, and came complete with drive-by shootings, armed robberies, and a severe economic depression.
Amar grew up very poor, having to accept food from "free lunch programs" while his parents rented apartments from government subsidized housing. His mother, Satpal, worked hard to learn English and found a job in a knitting factory called Eagle Knitting. His father, Satwant, worked double shifts at local gas stations, learning to stock merchandise and run a cash register.
Amar and his brother Pardeep are products of the Milwaukee Public School System. Both excelled in academics, despite the fact that they were “latch-key” kids who walked themselves back and forth to school through their crime-ridden neighborhoods. Satwant and Satpal worked their family out of poverty one double shift at a time. After graduating from Marquette University, Amar went on to teach Literature and Science at an inner city charter school named NOVA. His ability to rally the kids made him a perfect fit to be the supervisor of the Safe and Sound afterschool program. During his time at Marquette and NOVA, Amar found a calling in writing and making films. He decided after several short films and many other video production jobs to go to graduate school at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia for his Masters in Fine Arts (the highest degree for an artist in this field).
During the completion of his degree at SCAD, Amar directed over a dozen projects—including a major motion feature film entitled “Baby Blues”. He then moved from Savannah to the nearest major market, Atlanta, and created his own company, Neverending Light Productions, from a bedroom. Within one year, he had moved into an office in the prestigious Buckahead area, just North of Atlanta. There, he worked with many high level clients, including the Obama ’08 campaign, AT&T, Capital One, ING, Morehouse Medical, and many others.
On August 5, 2012, Amar's father was murdered alongside five others by a Neo Nazi white extremist at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. In a very short time, everything in Amar's life was shattered, as his community and family were shaken to their very core. Acting fast and with a very noble and genuine presence, Amar took to the worst type of community organizing—the aftermath of a mass shooting. Amar became the national spokesperson on the ground of this movement. His diligent work and leadership, along with the strength of the Sikh and Oak Creek communities, not only led to healing, but also helped unify an area that had been struggling with race relations and economic disparity for decades. In a short amount of time, working nationally as a community activist alongside the major Sikh and East Asian groups, Amar helped gather a subcommittee hearing on hate-crimes headed by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). They won a major battle later that year when Sikhs were counted, for the first time, as a statistic for hate crimes.
Amar believes that the government has lost its grip on what is morally right and wrong. After experiencing first-hand economic disparity, cultural and racial divides, and the mismanagement of our federal government, he decided he needed to be the solution he would like to see in the world. On November 14, 2013, Kaleka filed his paperwork for candidacy as a Democrat against Republican Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.