SAALT Marks Historic 2020 Election

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. 

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