‘South Asians for Biden’ aims to mobilize community support for former vice president

Former U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, second from left, at an event hosted by the recently formed ‘South Asians for Biden’ in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 28.

South Asians for Biden (SAB), a volunteer organization dedicated to increasing support for former Vice President Joe Biden in his bid to win the Democratic nomination within the South Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, was launched late last month.

To announce the launch, SAB recently hosted events in the Washington, D.C..-Virginia area and in California’s Bay Area. Former U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, headlined the D.C. launch, along with former senator Bill Nelson of Florida.

The group is planning similar events across the U.S. to mobilize the South Asian community. After his resounding comeback win in South Carolina, and strong performance on Super Tuesday, SAB says “it will work to consolidate the Democratic voters from the South Asian community to propel Joe Biden to the nomination and then onward to defeating President Trump in November 2020.”

The SAB leadership team includes chair Neha Dewan; national communications co-chairs Suresh Kumar, Akshar Patel, and Shivam Patel; and regional representatives Rohit Agarwal of California, Ann Macy and Praveen Meyyan of Virginia, and Parth Mehta of New Jersey.

According to New York-based Dewan, who was previously national co-chair for South Asians for Hillary, “the South Asian community in the United States can play an important role to help elect Vice President Biden. She said that as president, Biden “will continue his lifelong commitment to ensure that every member of the AAPI community is treated with dignity and has a fair shot at the American Dream. The Obama-Biden administration appointed more AAPI judges than all previous administrations combined and encouraged AAPI hiring in senior staff positions.”

Kumar, a professor at NJIT and committee member of Middlesex County Democratic Organization, New Jersey, said that his decision to back Biden “is based on multiple factors: personal integrity, electability in the general elections, leadership experience as senator and vice president to President Obama, strong relationships both inside the U.S. and with International leaders, and the ability to unite the country after the very divisive Trump presidency.”

According to a SAB press release, members also support Biden because of his immigration policies and progressive voting rights policies.

Last month, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Victory Fund, the first and only Asian American Super PAC (Political Action Committee), which is focused on mobilizing AAPI voters, endorsed Biden. Longtime Democratic Party activist and fund-raiser Shekar Narasimhan, the founder and chairman of the AAPI Victory Fund, in announcing the endorsement on Jan. 17 said, “We believe that Joe Biden is the best candidate to defeat Trump and lead our country.”

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