Harris' election sends message Black, Brown children belong here, say diaspora groups

Yoshita Singh
·4-min read

New York, Nov 8 (PTI) Indian-American and South-Asian political, diaspora organisations have hailed the 'hard-fought victory' of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, describing it as 'truly a remarkable win for the future of America' and that Harris' political rise will 'supercharge the political engagement of the Indian American community.' The Democratic Biden-Harris ticket has defeated incumbent President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in a bitterly-fought election that attracted a record number of Americans to cast their votes.

South Asians for Biden (SAB), a national grassroot, political organisation, on Saturday said it is elated to celebrate the hard-fought victory earned by Biden and Harris in this election.

“This is truly a remarkable win for the future of America, our democracy, and the entire South Asian community. That the Biden-Harris ticket unseated an incumbent president is a historic feat and represents a convincing repudiation of President Trump and his abhorrent world view,' National Director, SAB, Neha Dewan said.

The organisation said early indications are that the diverse South Asian community played a pivotal role in the victory by not only voting in unprecedented numbers, but also by undertaking the work of organising the community to make this outcome more likely.

“Notably, because of these efforts, our community will have direct representation in the executive branch with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, who will be the first Black and Indian woman to hold her office,” the organisation said, adding that the 2020 election has made it clear that South Asians are an influential force in American politics.

Executive Director of IMPACT- Indian American Impact Fund, Neil Makhija, said a generation of Indian Americans made this country their home because they knew anything was possible for their children here.

'Today, the daughter of one of those Indian Americans proved their faith. It is with pride, hope, and enduring faith in America that we congratulate Vice President-elect Kamala 'Desi' Harris on her historic victory,” said the leading Indian American advocacy and political action committee.

Makhija added that Harris’ election sends a message to a “new generation of young Black and Brown children that they belong, and that in America, anything is possible.' 'Her election will supercharge the political engagement of the Indian American community,' he said.

In 2020, IMPACT raised a record USD 10 million which doubled turnout of South Asian voters in critical states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona, where the community's engagement was enough to turn the tide in the Democrats favour.

'With an historic number of Indian American officials elected across the country, we are poised to grow our political power in the years to come,” Makhija said.

The funds raise by IMPACT were invested in the presidential, state-wide, and congressional races in battleground states, including nearly USD 2 million apiece in Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas, the organisation said.

Indo-American Democratic Organisation (IADO), the oldest South Asian American political advocacy organisation in the country, celebrated the historic 2020 presidential election.

“The Vice President-elect is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India. Her story and the story of her family is one of our country’s timeless testaments: we are a diverse, thriving nation of immigrants and communities,” said Susie Patel, IADO President.

“I couldn’t be more proud to join my family and friends, especially my own young daughter, in watching Vice President Kamala Harris inaugurate (office) this January,” Patel said.

In 2020 alone, IADO endorsed 50 plus candidates at every level of government, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President.

As part of its post-Election Day 2020 strategy, the IADO is committed to working with elected officials at every level of government to ensure consistent engagement with the South Asian American community and representing our community in public policy-making, it said.

“IADO was proud to have endorsed several candidates who shared detailed plans on how they're going to advance an agenda based on our core values of inclusion, equity, justice, and economic opportunity for all residents” said Dr. Dilara Sayeed, IADO board member and 2020 endorsement committee member.

“While Election Day 2020 is over, our vital work to organise and mobilise our communities remain constant. The real work continues to build strong relationships with elected officials in 2021,” Sayeed said.

The IADO said South Asian and Asian voters made historic strides in their participation. South Asian and Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic voting blocs in the country.

According to the Indian American Impact Fund, in 2020 alone there will be more than 500,000 South Asian American voters in the battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

The number of Indian Americans in Congress has grown five-fold in just the past eight years.

“South Asian Americans continue to grow as a significant voting bloc that can no longer be ignored,” said Nazneen Hashmi, IADO Board Secretary. PTI YAS IND RS