To Fight Hate – Stand Up and Vote TODAY Nov.7, 2017

The last decade has been witness to the growing prominence of South Asians in the American political landscape. The latest generation of South Asians are more politically conscious and active than their predecessors. This is due, in part, to the increased awareness of the relationship between political involvement and the overall treatment of a community. The South Asian community, including immigrants from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, to name a few has expanded and flourished to point where their voice can no longer be ignored; it must be factored into the political voice. The latest generation of South Asians are American educated but are groomed with the cultures they were nourished with. While the influx of South Asians to New Jersey rendered us a vital part of the community, political involvement is the next step to ensure proper suffrage and representation of the community.
Ravi Bhalla, is a Democrat running for mayor, in Hoboken. Bhalla was a member of the Hoboken city Council and was New Jersey’s first Sikh elected official. Out of the 12 candidates running with him in 2009, Bhalla received the highest number of votes, cementing his place in history. Being a Sikh-American and suffering from racial harassment while growing up has influenced his current political paradigm of standing up for the underdog and fighting for the voice of a minority.

Another hate flyer for Ravi Bhalla

Unfortunately, on Friday night fliers were circulated in Hoboken falsely linking Ravi Bhalla to terrorism in the second racist political mailing of this election term. The flier depicts Bhalla wearing his turban, of his Sikh faith, with the headline “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our Town!” Just a few days ago, a racist postcard was circulated regarding the School Board Elections of Middlesex County. The postcards read “The Chinese and Indians are talking over our town. Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is enough,” and have photos of the two board of education candidates, Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel with a “deport” stamp covering part of their photos.

Hate Flyer-US Nov Elections

These mailings are a prime example of the obstacles South Asians must face in the pursuit of representation and influence but more importantly, it is also the epitome of why we must continue to fight for our spot in the political landscape.

Vin Gopal Monmouth County
Vim Gopal is fighting election for the Senate from Monmouth County
Potentially the most potent of all, Vin Gopal, former chairman of the Monmouth County Democratic Committee, is challenging the longtime incumbent Jennifer Beck, a Monmouth County Republican, in a race for the Senate. Gopal promises solutions for the notoriously high taxes in New Jersey. His highlighted proposition, outlined in his Op-Ed titled, “Consolidate small towns,” his plan is to consolidate 100 towns in New Jersey with populations less than 2500 with neighboring towns to offset the financial burden purported by an excess of authorities and agencies. Furthermore, Gopal says that his opponent, Jennifer Beck, has held the office for the last 20 years without making any advancements in terms of taxes or otherwise and he would be the best candidate to pick off a Republican in years. Gopal says the local government should focus on cutting costs and mitigating the havoc wreaked upon the tax-paying citizens instead of increasing taxes, including the proposed tax increase for millionaires proposed by fellow Democrat running for Governor, Phil Murphy. Growing up in Monmouth County, he attended school at Penn State and how runs a marketing business for smaller businesses in Freehold, NJ.

By Arti Sunder & Adam Rizvi

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