|Election win opens up greater potential for pushing policies that matter to South Asian communities|
|November 9, 2020: SAALT congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on their historic win and we look forward to the opportunity to push for progressive and inclusive policies for South Asian Americans across the U.S with the new Administration. Despite attempts by the Trump Administration to thwart the democratic process, the hard work of organizers, poll workers, and volunteers ensured greater accountability around voter suppression than ever before. Ultimately, this led to a clear and decisive victory for the Biden campaign. |
Lakshmi Sridaran, Executive Director of SAALT, said: “This election opens up greater potential for pushing the policies that matter to our communities. We will rely on the same vigilance that propelled historic voter turnout and accurate vote counts to hold this Administration accountable to our communities. This means a complete overhaul of our immigration system that ensures a pathway to citizenship for all, COVID-19 relief packages that include immigrants of all status, increased language access resources, an end to detention and the militarization of U.S. borders, and the transformation of policing as we know it. We will celebrate and heal, but we also know the work of undoing the immense harm of the last four years and affirmatively laying the groundwork for meaningful systems change requires intention and political will. In order for this Administration to truly acknowledge the Black and brown communities whose years of organizing delivered this weekend’s victory, beyond representation, we expect them to exercise that political will to the full extent on behalf of our communities.“
The historic voter turnout and inspring shifts of traditionally conservative states were a direct result of years of organizing by Black and brown communities who felt the brunt of the Trump Administration’s xenophobic and racist polices and dangerous rhetoric. In particular, a growing and increasingly engaged South Asian population played a critical role in Georgia. The South Asian population in the South tripled from 2000 to 2014, and of the top ten metropolitan areas in the U.S. that experienced the largest South Asian population growth, five were in the South. Groups like Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, and Project South, working to implement Stacey Abrams’ strategy of appealing to disenfranchised voters of color instead of relying on the Democratic Party’s usual outsized focus on moderate white voters, harnessed the political organizing power of communities of color across the state. This critical shift in priorities should inform the Biden-Harris Administration.
However, given the narrow margin of victory in this election that took days to determine, it is clear that there remains definitive support for racist and xenophobic policies and that white supremacy is a dangerous force that will remain a threat to our communities. This is paired with the violent Islamophobia and Hindu nationalism aimed at many South Asian populations. Dismantling these interlinked systems of institutionalized violence is an important part of the work we now have an opportunity to directly address with the new administration, especially given Vice President Harris’ identity. At SAALT, we look forward to continuing to build community power, strengthening coalitions across communities of color, and advocating for just and equitable federal policies alongside the new Administration.