Melody Shekari is a lawyer, community advocate, and proud daughter of immigrants. Raised in Chattanooga, Melody earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Bentley University, a Master in Public Administration from the University of Washington, and a J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC). In graduate school, she was in leadership positions with the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students and the President of USC Graduate Student Government, and she graduated Order of Arete and received the law school’s prestigious Shattuck Award. Melody returned to Chattanooga to serve her community and completed a fellowship with the City of Chattanooga Mayor’s Office. She was the youngest major party nominee in 2016 when she was the Democratic nominee for the Tennessee 3rd Congressional House District, and she ran for TN State House in 2018.
She currently practices law in Chattanooga and is licensed in Tennessee and California. Her current work and volunteer priorities are criminal justice reform and transparent elections and governance. She has been an active volunteer, leader, and board member in a number of organizations, including the ACLU TN, Chattanooga Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Chattanooga Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Chattanooga League of Women Voters, Hamilton County Democratic Party, and American Red Cross of Southeast TN. Before 2020, she and her family hosted a sold-out, annual community Persian New Year’s Party to share Persian food and culture in her small Southern hometown. In her spare time, she travels, dives as a volunteer with the Tennessee Aquarium, and cooks Persian food.