Indian-American community shows pride in Kamala Harris, VP-elect

Ritu Jha-

“On this occasion of Diwali, as part of Silicon Valley Indian community, I would urge us to light two extra candles on Nov 14th, one for Kamala Harris and one in memory of her mother Shyamala Gopalan,” said Vinita Gupta, a Silicon Valley-based tech entrepreneur on U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris becoming the first Indian-American and first-ever woman Vice President of the United States making history on November 7.

Harris, 56 was dressed in a luminous peach-and-white pantsuit with a satin top, as people say that it was a Tamil confident look.

Sharing her thoughts with indica News, Gupta giving credit to Harris’s Indian mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, said the young woman dared to travel from India to a faraway continent and America as a young scientist, at age 19, and chose to marry a Jamaican student. Gopalan encouraged her daughters to embrace the Black community while being a single mother.

“We are honored to call you Ms. Harris, the first Indian-American Vice President-elect,” said Gupta, the founder and chairman of Digital Link Corporation (now Quick Eagle Networks). Gupta is the first woman of Indian-origin to take her company public in the United States.

Reacting to the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris victory, Sanjeev Joshipura, national director of Indians for Biden, said getting Biden and Harris elected was a team effort.

Joshipura, who ran a grassroots campaign for the Democratic ticket since Harris joined Biden as a running mate, said the entire team did their jobs with great responsibility, with unlimited and tremendous mobilizing by phone calls, texts, and other means.

He said Indian-Americans in Michigan, Pennsylvania Arizona, and Texas, and other swing states helped bring home the victory. The team hosted 12 online events and made over 8000 phone calls asking the community to vote.

“I am confident Indians for Biden’s mobilization effort, which was made in conjunction with South Asian for Biden, have positively impacted the outcome in the swing states in Biden’s perspective,” he said. “In some ways going virtual was easier to connect to a large number of people simultaneously.”

“Personally speaking, I am very confident under the Biden-Harris administration US-India ties will reach new heights.”

“In fact,  Biden has throughout his career, whether as a Senator or Vice President, consistently has been in the forefront strengthening ties with India at different points of his career,” he said. “And has stated very clearly that his dream US-India will be the closest allies.”

“And he always publicly said that,” Joshipura said. “I am very confident that US administration under Biden -Harris  will be very strong ties with India and will further strengthen those ties  with the Indian PM and entire country of India.”

“We know India is viewed as a very important country as far as American foreign relations and geo-political strategy is concerned,” he said. Right now it’s a celebration of the momentous occasion of Biden -Harris election, so we are just beginning to think of the next steps.

Ashok Bhatt, a supporter of Harris from when Harris first ran for San Francisco district attorney in 2002 all the way to today, spoke to indica News as he drove to Delaware, Nov. 7 to attend Biden-Harris victory party.

“We have lots of hope, from both, and Trump was anti-immigrant and Biden-Harris are pro,” Bhatt said, adding that Biden and Harris support Indians, business, tourism, H-1B visas and IT companies that have faced trouble under Trump.

“Since 2018, he (Trump) started attacking the immigration and H-1B visa, and we hope that will stop now,” Bhatt said.

Meanwhile, Harris opened her speech with a quote from the late Congressman John Lewis.

“Democracy is not a state. It is an act. And what he meant was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. To guard it, and never take it for granted, and protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes some sacrifices, but there is joy in it. And there is progress. Because we, the people, have the power to build a better future,” Harris said in her acceptance speech Saturday night.

“Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” Harris said to wild cheers. Harris’ mother Shyamala Gopalan, core to every Harris stump, was mentioned.

Lena Kannappan, the co-founder of the American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association(ATEA) in Silicon Valley, recalled honoring Harris after she won her election to San Francisco district attorney in 2004. Harris he came along with her mother Gopalan, and both were honored by San Francisco Bay Area Tamil Manram, a non-profit organization in California.

He, like Gupta, lauded Harris’ mother, saying, “Her (mother) coming at age 19 to the U.S., we can see how determined she would have been, and we see that reflected in Harris.”

Referring to Indra Nooyi, former PepsiCo chairman, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, Kannappan said, people coming from that part of the world, Tamil-origin, are not shy and are passionate about their work.

“Harris becoming the first Indian-American woman with origin in Tamil Nadu makes us feel proud,” he said.