After a tumultuous campaign fraught with division and bitter acrimony, the victory of former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Harris, to the White House, is an unmatched historic moment for the nation as a whole, including those within the Indian-American community who voted for President Donald Trump.
Biden rose to the top after a prolonged process of vote counting in battleground states like Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He becomes the 46th President of the United States, after four years of what has been possibly the most divided nation, one that a “President” Biden has promised to heal and unite.
In a history-making win for the nation, Senator Kamala Harris becomes the first Indian-American elected Vice President as well as the first woman and first Black woman to reach that position. For those who consider the United States a powerful country if not the most powerful on earth, see her as the second most powerful person here as she comes into office.
The New York Times also noted Harris was the first daughter of immigrants to be sworn in as vice president. It also noted the racist and sexist attacks Harris faced from conservatives including President Trump, several not wanting to pronounce her name correctly.
The tumultuous election process that finally brought the Biden-Harris team to the White House was mirrored over the months, within the Indian-American community, which even though predominantly Democratic, witnessed a high-profile Republican activism as the GOP made vigorous attempts to bring more from this community behind it.
The fact that Kamala Devi Harris is almost assuredly going to be a presidential candidate in four years based on indications that Biden will not run for another term as he comes into office at the age of 77, is not lost on the community that is rejoicing not just here in the United States, but across the globe in her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram, in Tamil Nadu, where her grandfather P.V. Gopalan was born.
While President-elect Joe Biden has his own unique story to tell, for much of America, particularly black people and other minorities, Harris’ is the story of the potential this country holds, despite systemic racism and endemic violence.
The daughter of an Indian-American mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biomedical scientist who has done original research, and a Jamaican-American father, Donald J. Harris, a Stanford University professor, Harris was brought up in a largely African-American neighborhood, with her sister Maya, by a single mother.
Neil Makhija, executive director of IMPACT, an Indian American advocacy and political action committee,congratulated the Biden-Harris ticket, adding, “Her 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: In 2020, IMPACT raised a record $10 million which doubled turnout of South Asian voters in critical states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona, where our community’s engagement was enough to make the margin. With an historic number of Indian American elected officials across the country, we are poised to grow our political power in the years to come.”
In the 2020 election, IMPACT raised $10 million to support turnout efforts in the Asian American and Indian American community investing in the presidential, state-wide, and congressional races in battleground states, including nearly $2 million apiece in Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas.