The South Asians for Biden New Jersey chapter held a virtual discussion with South Asian political leaders New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal, New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, New Jersey State Senator candidate Rupande Mehta and General Counsel to NJ Democratic State Committee and attorney with Genova Burns LLC Rajiv Parikh.
Middlesex County Freeholder Shanti Narra served as the moderator of “The Good, The Bad, The Future” on Aug. 8.
The discussion was centered around what the 2020 presidential election means to the community, and why former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden is the right candidate for the South Asian American community, according to information provided by the group.
Gopal talked about the immigration policy of President Donald Trump and its implications for the South Asian community. He mentioned he would seriously doubt whether his parents or other immigrants like them would have been legally allowed to immigrate to this country under a Trump administration, according to the statement. He pointed out that while “our country is supposed to represent diversity and inclusion, there are many policies under the Trump administration which are not good for South Asians, like restrictions on H-1B visas, according to the statement.
Gopal added that Biden “is really going to be somebody who would unite our country which is currently divisive.” He urged all South Asian Americans to participate in the political process and ensure that people vote. He also requested South Asian Americans to ensure that “our friends and neighbors in other states understand how important this election is, not only for a few policy changes or change a few Supreme Court justices,” this election is “about the fabric of our diverse country which we all love,” according to the statement.
Mukherji said the country needs stability, sanity, reliability and someone to put the heart and mind of the country first before his/her own ambitions, and Biden is a candidate who would do that, according to the statement. He added that with the current pandemic, the U.S. delayed and overall failed with its response due to Trump’s undermining public health officials and not listening to the experts, including the CDC.
“The South Asian American diaspora needs to vote strictly from the lens of where Joe Biden stands on issues unique to our region and that he beats Donald Trump on every measure,” Mukherji said, according to the statement.
He said that unemployment rates and the COVID-19 pandemic “makes this election even more important, as we need a leader who ensures that we have a well-planned strategy to mitigate the disease and to reduce the spread.”
Mukherji added that Trump has not been good for the relationship between the U.S. and the Indian subcontinent, especially on trade and other major issues, according to the statement.
Speaking on the U.S.-India relationship, Parikh said he envisions a better U.S.-India relationship under Biden, as has been with previous Democratic presidents, according to the statement. Parikh also discussed that Biden, with his experience and expertise in foreign policy, “will help this country to restore our place on the world stage.” Parikh said as president, Biden would create millions of jobs focused on manufacturing and innovation strategy that doesn’t ignore globalization, and value on-shoring to ensure immigration policy to work in rebuilding the economy in post-pandemic America, according to the statement.
Mehta spoke on the importance of casting the vote in the November election, whether in person or via mail-in-ballot, “to send a very clear message that this country does not stand or tolerate hatred and divisiveness.” Mehta said “we must unite our country that we now call home, which is the United States of America.”
Mehta, who firmly believes in equality, encouraged South Asian American women to get involved in the political process and leadership role, according to the statement. She said that for her “the fight is personal as I want to give my daughter a better life.” She added, “It is not only about India, we live here in America and we have many issues concerning South Asians in this country and we need to bring that positive change for better life.”
Narra highlighted the importance of getting involved and participating in the election process for the betterment of our community.
“As we have seen with COVID-19, it is disproportionately affecting Black and Brown communities,” she said, adding that the response to the pandemic “has been pretty inhumane.” As a Brown community, “we need to focus on who is going to actually see the issues of the people in this country and respond to them,” she said, according to the statement.
South Asians for Biden – New Jersey Chapter member Dr. Tushar Patel provided information on the organization and why is it important to elect Biden in November. Karan Virmani, New Jersey State director for South Asians for Biden, extended his sincere appreciation to all those who participated in the webinar and provided information on how to get involved with South Asians for Biden.