Sunday, July 21, 2024

Kamala Harris says more Indian Americans in US must run for elected offices: ‘So much that we still have to do’

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Kamala Harris has said that the number of Indian Americans in elected offices in the US does not reflect their growing population. On Wednesday, May 15, the US vice president urged more members of the minority ethnic community to run for elected offices.

Kamala Harris said more Indian Americans in the US must run for elected offices (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(AP)

Harris made the remarks at Desis Decide, the annual summit of Indian American Impact, a Democratic Party think tank. It is known for funding Indian Americans across the country running for elected offices.

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“Over the years, we’ve had so much more participation by Indian Americans in the electoral process running for office. But the numbers are still not reflective of the size of the growing population,” Harris told an audience comprising several Indian Americans in Washington DC.

At present, there are only five elected Indian American members of the Congress – Dr Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, and Shri Thanedar. Impact previously said it believed that in 2020, the number of Indian Americans in the Congress will increase to 10.

Harris said that the kind of work Impact is doing is “extraordinary.” I wanted to stop by to thank, of course, the organisation for everything and for all that it represents, but also to say especially to those who have run for office or aspire to run for office, that you must run,” Harris said.

‘There is so much that we still have to do’

“You must know that you are not alone. There is so much that we still have to do as a country and a lot of the work that we each do, which is why we are here together, is born out of a belief in the promise of America. And dare I say that, I am empirical evidence of the promise of America,” the vice president added.

“This election coming up in six months, I think is presenting a question to each of us. Which is, what kind of world do we want to live in and what kind of country do we want to live in? And one of the ways that we answer that question is to seek office and to participate in elections knowing that the outcome of those elections matter in fundamental ways,” she said.

Harris then asked the members of the audience to raise their hands if they were planning to run for office, or were running for office. “What will happen, invariably it’s happened to all of us, is you are going to find yourself invariably in rooms where you are the only one who looks like you, the only one who has had your life experience. What I then say to you each, look around this room and hold onto this image. And remember then when you walk into those rooms, when you walk into those situations, you remember, you are not alone. We are all there with you. You must remember that,” she said.

Harris also opened up about her mother, saying she visited the US from India when Harris was 19 and marching for Civil Rights in Berkeley. Harris revealed that she would visit India every two years while growing, and recalled how her grandfather took her on morning walks. “And I remember as a young girl, hearing them discuss the importance of standing for what is right and fairness,” she said.

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