The voter turnout of the Asian Americans, who delivered victories to US President Joe Biden and Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia, brings the real power to the community, Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has said.
A member of the Democratic Party, Jayapal, 57, is the first South Asian American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives.
She is one of the only 20 naturalised citizens to serve in the House of Representatives and one of less than a hundred women of colour who have served in the US Congress.
The voter turnout of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) drew more than any other demographic in Georgia, delivering a huge victory to Warnock, the same way that AANHPI voters delivered the margin of victory for Biden, she said.
“The turnout uptick in Georgia proves that the political power that we are building in this room is real, it is enduring, it has staying power. We have incredible leaders today, but we will have more AANHPI incredible leaders at every level,” she said.
“We know that having those perspectives is important, not only to the policy, but also to how people see their own futures,” Jayapal said in her address to the AANHPI Women’s Celebration organised by the AAPI Victory Fund at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday.
She said what gave her the greatest hope and inspiration was looking at all the incredible young people who are powering this movement.
Jayapal said having diverse voices and positions of power really was critical for building a democracy that addresses the real needs of people.
”It’s critical in terms of delivering on necessary and urgent policy that we need in this country. We all know the stakes. We all know what the challenges are ahead of us. We know that our democracy is fragile and that it takes our work and our engagement to keep it robust,” she said.
“We know that the former occupant of the White House is running again for president, despite the fact that he incited an insurrection. We know that Republicans controlled by the extreme MAGA control the house right now,” Jayapal said.
She underscored the Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris’ administration’s commitment to partnering with AA and NHPI communities to build a freer and fairer America.
“I am here representing President Biden’s Cabinet as the first Asian American and first woman of colour confirmed as the US Trade Representative. But I also represent all of us—the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities—in the President’s Cabinet,” United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said.
“The Vice President of the United States gets us because she is one of us. There are other women leaders that we should celebrate, and some of them are here tonight. Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Arati Prabhakar, who is in the President’s Cabinet with me. Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. Congresswoman Judy Chu. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal,” she said.