A historic moment for the Indian-American community — that is how most described Kamala Harris being picked as the Democratic candidate for Vice President.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden finally announced his pick for Vice President Tuesday. Two-term former California state attorney Kamala Harris, 55, is the first Indian American, the first Caribbean American and the first woman to run for Vice President of the United States.
“It’s an incredible moment in world history,” Neil Makhija, executive director of IMPACT, the leading Indian-American advocacy group and PAC to support Harris, told indica News.
“I am still…” he said, searching for words, and eventually deciding a happy laugh was better.
He said he knew 10 years ago, when he first saw Senator Harris, that someday she would become a national leader.
Makhija said the announcement of Kamala Harris as Vice President pick will let Indian Americans get involved in politics like never before.
“She is incredible. And a trailblazer for a long time,” Makhija said. “We are very excited to cast the ballot for her in Pennsylvania this November.”
Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964 in Oakland, California. Her mother, breast-cancer scientist Shyamala Gopalan, migrated to the US in 1960 for higher studies. Her father, Donald Harris, migrated to the US from Jamaica in 1961. He was a professor at Stanford University.
Harris launched her presidential bid in March 2018 from her hometown of Oakland, California, an event that more than 20,000 people attended. However, on December 3, 2019, she suspended the presidential race saying: “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue…. I am not perfect. But I will always speak with decency and moral clarity and treat all people with dignity and respect. I will lead with integrity. I will speak the truth.”
Ashok Bhatt, a Democrat and long-time Harris supporter who has hosted several fundraising events for her, told indica News that the moment Harris’s name was announced as Vice President pick, he donated $5,600 to the party.
“Cannot take risk this time; she is going to be the first Indian-American Vice President,” Bhatt told indica News. “I urge the community to come together and support her. We are dedicated to her and the Democratic Party from now until the election is over.”
He said the Indian-American community should set aside differences on India-related issues — brewing since Congressman Ro Khanna joined the Pakistan Caucus — and throw all its weight behind Harris and Biden.
MR Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, also said it was a historic moment for the community.
“What a momentous occasion in Indian-American history! I have known Kamala Harris since her days as the district attorney of San Francisco, and at every step as she progressed through her career, she has shown tremendous vision and passion. Proud moment indeed!” Rangaswami told indica News.
Ajay Bhutoria, who serves on the national finance committee of Biden for President 2020 and is on the Biden campaign’s Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) national leadership council, was equally exuberant.
“It’s a great moment of pride and celebration for the Indian-American community to have Kamala Harris as Vice President candidate with Joe Biden for President 2020,” Bhutoria told indica News.
Bhutoria said that Biden is running to restore the soul of the nation and unite the country to move it forward. Biden, Bhutoria said, is confident that Kamala Harris will be the best partner for him to finally get the country back on track.
Bhutoria also felt Harris’s selection had energized the community.
“India-US relations are going to grow stronger with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in office. Bilateral relationships between India and US will flourish in all areas including people to people, business to business, and industry to Industry,” he said,
An estimated 1.3 million Indian Americans are expected to vote in this year’s election, according to IMPACT, including nearly 200,000 in Pennsylvania and 125,000 in Michigan, both must-win battleground states.
“IMPACT is gearing up to raise $10 million to fight for inclusive democracy and candidates who share our values like Senator Harris,” it said.