The Indo-American Democratic Organization, one of the earliest political activist groups established by the community in the Midwest and possibly in the U.S., elected its new leadership at a Jan. 26, 2020 meeting in Chicago.
The election meeting was held at IADO’s offices in Little India on Devon Avenue.
Organizers, who consider the 2018 midterm elections which saw Indian-American State Senator Ram Villivalam elected to the legislature as one of their achievements, are gearing up for more engagement with the political process this election year. Villivalam was the president of IADO.
“IADO will continue to be an effective champion for Illinois’ South Asian Americans,” IADO’s new Board President Susan Patel, is quoted saying in a press release. “We’ll continue to be the leading voice for our many South Asian American communities on the issues and values that matter most to us, especially with the upcoming presidential election in 2020,” Patel added.
The new executive committee will now be led by Susan Patel as Board President, Abin Kuriakose as Vice President, and Shajan Kuriakose as Treasurer.
The board of directors includes Bushra Amiwallah, Samay Gheewala, Nazneen Hashmi, Tom Kalayil, Al Khalfan, Sam Kukadia, Maneesh Limaye, Dr. Dilara Sayeed and Vivek Yeldandi.
Susan succeeds State Senator Villivalam who represents Illinois’ eighth state senate district and recently became Acting Democratic Committeeman for Chicago’s 39th Ward.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the work we have done at IADO to educate as well as support Democratic candidates and increase civic engagement within our community,” said Senator Villivalam. “I’m excited for Susie and her vision to engage South Asian Americans in the upcoming presidential election.”
Shajan Kuriakose praised Villivalam, saying, “As our IADO board president for the past five years, Ram has transformed IADO. His vision and leadership brought the organization to new heights, especially when it came to representing our community with Chicagoland elected officials.”
According to the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI), there are approximately 290,000 South Asians in the state of Illinois. From 2000 to 2010, South Asians were the fastest-growing ethnic group in Illinois, growing at 55.6%.
Established in 1980, IADO works “to engage South Asian Americans in the political process, recruit and endorse candidates for public office who share the values of the South Asian community and advocate a progressive agenda that benefit working and immigrant families,” the press release said.