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Indian Americans’ representation in elected office, according to Kamala Harris, is not proportional to their population

US Vice President Kamala Harris urged members of the minority ethnic community to run for public seats more often on Wednesday, stating that the number of Indian Americans in elected offices is not indicative of their expanding population.

Speaking at “Desis Decide,” a yearly conference of Indian American Impact, a Democratic Party think tank that promotes and finances Indian Americans seeking political office around the nation, was Harris, who is of both Indian and African descent.

“The number of Indian Americans who participate in the election process and seek office has increased significantly throughout the years. In a crowded audience of Indian Americans in the nation’s capital, Harris—the first African American, Indian American, and female vice president of the United States—stated, “But the numbers are still not reflective of the size of the growing population.”

Currently, Dr. Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, and Shri Thanedar are the five elected Indian American members of Congress. Impact projected that there would be ten Indian American members of Congress by 2024.

Impact predicted that Indian American voters, who make up the second-largest immigrant group in the US and are rapidly expanding in several states, may prove to be the deciding factor in closely fought presidential elections.

In her opening comments, Harris praised Impact’s work and its members’ involvement in helping to elect senators in states like Georgia as well as community members. She called Impact’s work exceptional.

It is very remarkable. In addition to expressing gratitude to the organization for everything and all it stands for, Harris stated, “I wanted to stop by to say to those who have run for office or who aspire to run that you must run.”

“Remember that you are not alone. We still have a great deal of work ahead of us as a nation, and much of the work that each of us does—and the reason we are here together—is rooted in our faith in America’s promise. The vice president said, “And dare I say that? I am empirical evidence of the promise of America.”

“I believe that everyone of us is being asked a question by this election, which is in six months. Specifically, what type of nation and what kind of planet do we want to live on? As Harris invited the audience to raise their hands if they were running for office or planned to do so, she stated, “And one way that we answer that question is to seek office and to participate in elections, knowing that the outcome of those elections matters in fundamental ways.”

“What will happen, and it has occurred to all of us, is that you will inevitably find yourself in situations where you are the only one who resembles you and has experienced your particular life. I then tell everyone of you to glance around the room while clinging to this picture. You will then keep in mind that you are not alone when you enter such spaces and circumstances. We’re all with you there. You have to keep it in mind,” she said.

Deepak Raj, the treasurer and co-founder of Impact, spoke on the occasion and claimed Harris had played a key role in the organization’s founding eight years before. Over the years, she has been an amazing driving force behind our organization. She attended the first summit in 2018 and is now back, according to Raj. Raj said that Harris is not just the first female elected US vice president but also the first South Asian Indian American woman.

“I believe she has been an amazing role model for all of us. He added that she is a genuine hero and an inspiration to all of us because of what she has accomplished in paving the way for minorities, women, and immigrants. Raj said, “I think her accomplishments and success give us hope and confidence that we have a bright future, all of us fighting together for public office and as a community.”

A few people yelled “Four more years” when the vice president stepped onto the platform. But one individual shouted, “Shame on you,” perhaps referring to the conflict in Gaza, though it remained unclear. The demonstrator was taken out of the room quite quickly. Harris also spoke about her mother, who immigrated to the US from India when she was 19 years old, and her involvement in the Berkeley Civil Rights March. She added that when she was a child, her grandpa would take her on early walks when she traveled to India every two years. She said, “And I remember hearing them discuss the importance of standing for what is right and fairness when I was a young girl.”

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