Kamala Harris Addresses South Asian Women in Leadership Event
“Leadership starts the day you are born,” said Kamala Harris.
On 29 August, with the backdrop of Senator Kamala Harris’ historic selection as the first Black and South Asian nominee for Vice President, South Asians for Biden hosted a virtual event titled “South Asian Women in Leadership: Ushering a New Wave of Diversity in the Biden-Harris Era.”
A total of 210 people took part in the webinar.
“I’m so excited that we’re having this panel today with so many incredible, trailblazing women who are ready to usher in a new wave of leadership into the White House,” said Harris in a pre-recorded audio address.
“To all the young women watching this, I just want you to know that leadership starts the day you are born. You are never too young or too old to be a leader. So get involved in your community, run for office. Whatever you do, it matters. Just lead, and don’t listen that it can’t be done, because I never have.”Kamala Harris
The discussion featured five South Asian women leaders – Dr Sadaf Jaffer, Mayor of Montgomery Township in New Jersey who is the first Muslim woman to serve as Mayor in the US; Kesha Ram, the youngest woman serving as an elected legislator in Vermont and candidate for the Vermont State Senate; Dr Nina Ahmad, candidate for Pennsylvania Auditor General, who is slated to be first woman of colour to hold a statewide office in PA if elected; Habir Bhatia, candidate for the City of Santa Clara City Council in California, who would be the first Sikh American woman elected to the City’s local office.
The panel was moderated by Mini Timmarju, a seasoned political strategist with over 20 years of policy, campaign, and advocacy experience, who also serves as a board member for the Indian American Impact Fund and EMILY’s List.
The event was co-hosted with the Indians for Biden National Council and the Indian American Impact Fund.
Bhatia emphasised that members of the South Asian community may have a preference to not make waves or take risks, but that the current climate demands South Asian women’s active community involvement. “It’s really important to be engaged and I believe the beauty of the Biden-Harris ticket is that it’s not just one identity, it’s multiple identities. We must actively participate to make our voices heard,” said Bhatia.
The panel ended with a discussion regarding the impact of COVID-19 and race. Dr Ahmad said, "we have a federal government that failed us during the [COVID-19] pandemic. Moreover, statistics show that Black and Brown people, particularly African American people, have been most directly impacted by COVID-19. As leaders, we have the opportunity to re-imagine what government looks like and how we address this pandemic. We can break down those racial barriers," she added.
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