April 2023 \ Diaspora News \ DIASPORA NEWS

As an Indian growing up in America, Darshana Patel who recently announced her bid to run for the California State Assembly District 76, was called a “pagan, greasy Indian”, and was asked to “go back home”.

By Meenakshi Iyer

The San Diego resident’s campaign has earned early endorsements from Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna. The election will be an open-seat contest, as incumbent Assembly member Brian Maienschein will be terming out. Along with Patel, lawyer Joseph Rocha, also a Democrat, has announced his candidacy for the same seat.

With fellow Indian-Americans Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramakrishnan throwing their hats in the ring for the 2024 presidential elections, Patel told IANS that she feels proud that they are taking the risk to represent the diverse Indian-American community via the primary electoral process.

“Their candidacy will bring a wealth of diverse opinions to the political arena and challenge stereotypes. I feel proud that Indian-Amerians are stepping up to all levels of public office and further inspiring political engagement and civic responsibility.”

Indian-Americans account for over one per cent of the country’s population and have one of the highest per capita incomes among ethnic groups.

While the community is concentrated in major areas like New York, New Jersey, California, and Texas, their votes might turn out to be decisive in case of close races in the states of Florida, Atlanta, and Pennsylvania.

So, is the US ready for an Indian-American as its next president?

“I wish I could answer Yes with lots of confidence since we have successfully elected Indian-American local officials, judges, Governors, and several Indian-American Congressional representatives, and our current Vice President Kamala Harris is an Indian-American,” Patel said, adding that the US is yet to elect a female President.

“Though, and I think that there are persisting, misguided fears of divided loyalty from Indian and even all Asian Americans, perhaps this election cycle will break these barriers,” she said.