In the words of our former first lady, Michelle Obama, today, I am ‘getting comfortable with a little greatness’. I am proud of our community and the opportunity that we have in front of us to impact policy, to re-shape leadership, and to enrich our culture as Americans. I encourage you to take it in and get comfortable with the greatness that is in store. Here’s why:
Young Professionals are Making Their Mark.
Two Indian Americans were elected to the New York state Assembly on Tuesday — making them the first South Asian Americans voted into the lower house of the state Legislature.
Zohran Mamdani, 29, and Jenifer Rajkumar, 38, will represent parts of Queens, largely made up of immigrants. The 2010 census reported that more than 300,000 South Asian Americans lived in New York City — about a third of the total Asian American population — but the community hasn’t had an elected person from South Asian descent before this year.
Asian and Pacific Islander Americans Gaining Ground.
Kai Kahele won the Hawaii House seat vacated by Tulsi Gabbard making him the second Native Hawaiian in Congress since its statehood. Kahele’s win comes at a time when the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, already impacted by an elevated poverty level, have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kahele was elected to Congress along with two Asian American women of Korean descent who were both elected in the November 2020 election: Marilyn Strickland of Washington and Michelle Steel of California.
Currently, Asian Americans will occupy 19 seats in the U.S. Congress. To give context, 45 Asian Americans in total have occupied seats since 1957 and today we have nearly half of those seats in one sitting Congress.
Women are Breaking Ceilings.
Kamala Harris, our country’s Vice President-elect, achieved a number of firsts this weekend. Aside from being the first woman to occupy the office of Vice President of the United States of America, she is also the first Black and Asian American to serve in this role. In her own words, she is “the first but will not be the last”. She has broken the proverbial “glass ceiling” but moreover, she has paved the way for anyone to become whatever he/she wants to be.
While we need not be defined by our gender or our ethnicity, we do carry with us the characteristics given to us through birth. However, it is what happens in life that will define each and every one of us. Go on and love one another. Open doors. Assume the person in front of you may be your next leader or that you will be theirs. Be kind and get comfortable with greatness because we are about to be part of a new era that redefines what “great” really can be.
November 11, 2020