Udayavni Special

Indian Americans launch organisation to politically empower South Asian community


PTI, Apr 20, 2021, 8:39 AM IST

Washington DC: A group of Indian Americans who played a key role in Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election have announced the formation of South Asians for America (SAFA) – an organisation that aims to advance the political empowerment of the community.

Leaders from South Asians for Biden (SAB) formed SAFA after assessing the groundbreaking impact of their organising efforts during the 2020 general election and Georgia senate election victories, which led to the Democrats winning the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.

SAFA is dedicated to increasing the political power of the South Asian diaspora community, the SAB said, adding the aim is to increase civic engagement, political participation, and the network of South Asians.

SAFA is slated to be formally launched on May 6 featuring Gold Star parent Khizr Khan, venerated attorney Neal Katyal, Girls Who Code Founder & CEO Reshma Saujani, actress and singer featured in Broadway’s Hamilton Arianna Afsar, Nina Davuluri, Farhan Tahir, and Fawzia Mirza.

The launch event would also include Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy, Virginia State Senator Ghazala Hashmi, former candidate for Pennsylvania Auditor General Nina Ahmad, and Vermont State Senator Kesha Ram.

“We are excited to announce the launching of South Asians for America,” said Neha Dewan, National Director of SAB, who will be at the helm of SAFA.

“The 2020 election cycle demonstrated the need for an organisation that is dedicated to empowering South Asians on a continuous basis, and not just in the lead up to an election,” she said.

Leaders of the new organisation said SAFA is focused on a unique voting bloc with diaspora communities drawing their heritage from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives, with diverse faith traditions, languages, and paths to immigration to the US.

Harini Krishnan, who previously served as the SAB grassroots organising lead, noted the increased enthusiasm of the South Asian community in civic engagement and politics.

“With the election of President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and countless senior South Asians staff appointees represented in their administration, we expect to see an influx of individuals interested in serving their communities in various capacities,” she said.

“SAFA will provide resources and training, and will also be engaged in efforts to ensure that South Asians remain a durable voting bloc that Democrats can count on to win,” said Krishnan.

Bel Leong-Hong, Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, applauded the launch of SAFA.

“During the 2020 election cycle, I worked very closely with South Asians for Biden, and watched them grow rapidly into an organisation that made a difference to the outcome of the election,” Leong-Hing said.

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