Energized By Kamala Harris’ Win, South Asian Coloradans Hope To Increase Representation In State And Local Politics, Too

Energized By Kamala Harris’ Win, South Asian Coloradans Hope To Increase Representation In State And Local Politics, Too

By Vignesh Ramachandran

Maha Mahalingam moved from South India to the United States in 1980 and began graduate school. She was only 22 at the time and eventually moved to Colorado, where she settled with her family in Aurora. 

When Mahalingam heard about Shyamala Gopalan Harris, her story sounded familiar. Gopalan Harris was the mother of vice president-elect Kamala Harris, and she moved from Chennai, India, to Berkeley, California, at the age of 19. 

“To think of that 19-year-old, coming with so much determination and courage, seeking a new life and a new land — and when I even think of her marching in Berkeley for social justice — I feel a sense of solidarity with this woman,” said Mahalingam, 62, a social worker currently pursuing her Ph.D.

Indian Americans, the largest subset of South Asian Americans, are only about a half percent of Colorado’s population. But nationwide, Asian Americans as a whole are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group of voters in the country. Here in Colorado, South Asian voter engagement is finally catching up. Harris, whose father is from Jamaica, will be the first Black and Indian American — and woman — vice president in United States history. Spurred on by her historic win, some hope representation in state and local offices in Colorado can also accelerate now.

“I’ve grown up just not seeing a lot of South Asian representation in the media, in politics anywhere, and to see that happening in the White House,” said Indra Raj, 34, who lives in Boulder and is the music director at community radio station KGNU. “The fact that the term ‘South Asian’ is now something people understand is kind of a big deal.”

What I hope to see from it is an even greater engagement of people of Indian origin in politics here in America. When I came to live here in 1976, Indian immigrants like us were more focused on their jobs, their careers, establishing themselves in this country, and they were fairly apolitical. And I think it shows the maturing of our group that we have now entered politics.”

Read the rest @ https://www.cpr.org/2020/11/18/south-asian-coloradans-are-energized-by-kamala-harris-win-now-they-hope-to-increase-representation-in-state-and-local-politics-too/


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *