By Nidhi T., Hena R. & Harishini E. (as seen in our newsletter)
Like many things in the great state of Texas which come together around a BBQ grill, a few of us came together in a progressive friend’s kitchen. We marinated about getting active and realized that a great way to mobilize for Democrats in 2020 is by reaching out to the people we know best – our own family and friends, colleagues and neighbors of “Desi” American heritage.
And then came an early realization for us Indo-Americans. Amongst us, there was a Sri Lankan American and a Nepali American, for whom the word “Desi” is not something that they normally use to self-identify. From that came the commitment that in our mission to mobilize, we will consciously work to create a diverse South Asian coalition, including people who are Afghan, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Indian, Indo-Fijian, Guyanese, Indo-Caribbean, Maldivian, Myanmarese, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and other diaspora groups such as Parsis and Burghers. We have since reached out to the LGBTQI Desi community. TSB-ATX thus came into being and is a welcoming advocacy community for all.
Unity in diversity is our strength!
Harishini, a Tamil Sri Lankan and Anusha, a Sinhala Sri Lankan, two ethnic groups often at odds in Sri Lanka, are working together to develop a comprehensive list of names (first and last names) that are unique to the Sri Lankan community. Harishini was involved with the Obama, Clinton and Beto O'Rourke campaigns and noticed that she saw few Sri Lankan and other South Asian names when phone banking and doing community outreach.
Nidhi, an Indian American, who is a political sociologist and was previously an Ambassador for Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for the South Asian community, has been working on curating Pakistani names (including minorities such as Parsis which can often be from India as well) with friends from those communities.
Hena, a Pakistani American on the staff of the Texas Democratic Party, has been a key driving force for keeping us together and active. In her job as their Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Constituency Organizer she is helping the Democratic Party, and us, in engaging with the AAPI community members across Texas and figuring out innovative ways to increase the AAPI voter turn-out rates statewide.
We are building a group of like-minded folks keen on working to preserve the best in America – our democracy, our independent judiciary, the strengthening of our public schools, our embrace of immigrants, our cooperation with other countries to curb carbon emissions and now the critical work of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are all part of the They See Blue family in the heart of Texas and we are ready to turn Texas Blue!