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Indian-American group to spend $10mn in the 2020 election

Washington, July 30 (IANS) An Indian-American political group has planned to spend $10 million for the 2020 elections aimed at helping more members of the community win political office from Congress down to school boards, a media report said.

“This is a pivotal moment for our community and our country,” The American Bazaar reported on Wednesday citing advocacy group Impact’s new executive director, Neil Makhija, a public interest lawyer son of Indian immigrants, as saying.

The group’s efforts would be focused on recruiting, training and supporting candidates, and though it is not explicitly aligned with Democrats the group’s “values certainly lean that way”, he told the media.

“After significant gains in previous election cycles, Indian-Americans are poised to assert our emerging power by electing more Indian-American candidates at every level of government, and by supporting excellent candidates of all backgrounds who share our ideals of inclusivity, equity, and civil rights,” Makhija added.

According to the research firm CRW Strategy, over three-quarters of Indian-American voters supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Makhija said they were also likely to support presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this November.

Indian-Americans are the second largest immigrant group in the US, after Mexicans, but they account for only five members of Congress.

In a nod to the community’s growing political clout, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running an ad in Hindi, the main Indian language.

The lone Indian American Senator Kamala Harris, who has emerged as a leading contender to be Biden’s running mate welcomed the Impact announcement.

“I’m excited about the Indian-American community’s growing engagement in the political process — not just as an Indian-American, but as someone who believes the more Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds feel ownership in our democracy, the stronger our democracy will be,” Harris was quoted as saying in the American Bazaar report.

“As Impact moves to its next phase of leadership, I look forward to being joined in the Capitol by even more Indian Americans to move our country forward for everyone,” she said.

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The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) welcomed New York State Assembly’s decision to reconsider a Bill that would require schools to teach the Swastika as a symbol of hatred and intolerance in the school curriculum. The decision comes in the backdrop of public outrage around the Bill and a lack of consideration of the impact on Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Native Americans, and other traditions who consider the Swastika a symbol of good fortune, peace, and prosperity. “We have always been clear that we support the spirit of the Bill – to educate students on issues regarding bigotry, racism and hatred,” remarked Nikunj Trivedi, president of CoHNA. “Our concerns stemmed from the fact that the Bill included the Swastika as a symbol of hate without a dialogue with those who hold this ancient symbol in high regard.” Declaring the Swastika as a symbol of hate would perpetuate misinformation and attacks against many Americans of diverse religious backgrounds. Thus, efforts to fostering a more inclusive and tolerant society for all must take into account the context in which the Swastika is used by these religious communities. A Change.org petition started by CoHNA gathered over 7,000 signatures (from Hindus and non-Hindus, including Jews). The organization engaged with Hindu, Jewish and other religious communities to mobilize favorable public opinion on this issue and to ensure that the Hindu community’s concerns are taken into consideration. Full report on our website. Link in bio.

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