This story was originally published in the January 5, 2018 issue of The Slant. Want Asian American news, media and culture in your inbox every week? Subscribe here.
When it comes to politics, South Asian Americans are in it to win it. Indian Americans in particular are knockin’ it out of the park, winning appointment after appointment in the Trump administration.
But while California Congressman Ro Khanna, New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal and former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal loom large, they’ve got something besides their ethnicities in common.
Three guesses. (They’re dudes.)
Hope you like surprises
Sure, there’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, California Senator Kamala Harris, and Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. But on the state and local level, South Asian women are even more marginalized.
Take Khyati Joshi, who chairs New Jersey’s South Asian American Caucus with Satish Poondi. While Joshi enjoys working with him, Poondi seems to get all the credit. “He’s often been the one recognized as the co-chair, and they just conveniently leave the other co-chair out,” Joshi said to ROI.
That ain’t right
And you don’t have to be Yuri Kochiyama to know it.
That’s why last September, thirteen South Asian women founded Inspiring South Asian American Women (ISAAW), a non-partisan organization helping South Asian American women network and engage in politics.
ISAAW’s based in New Jersey, which has the most South Asian Americans after California and New York. Already, South Asian women are stepping up to run for city council, mayor, and more.
And while the state isn’t represented by a South Asian on the federal level, ISAAW could help a South Asian American woman get there … and maybe make #ImWithHer happen again.
— Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, who listened to “Mama Said Knock You Out” like 30 times today