Tag Archives: SHORT TAKES

South Asians Running For Office – Raaheela Ahmed

Four Reasons Why!

That’s what pushed Raaheela Ahmed to run for office and win – TWICE!

Raaheela Ahmed was a freshman at UMD when her dad, Shukoor Ahmed, kept insisting she had four good reasons to run for a seat on the Prince George’s County School Board in Maryland.

“You’re passionate about education, our community needs you in this role, you’re qualified, and I will support you!”

So Raaheela decided to go for it.

She has just won a second term – this time getting 57.26% of the vote. And Raaheela is only in her mid twenties!

It’s been a family affair for the Ahmeds – and this is no ordinary family.  Raaheela belongs to one that takes persistence to new heights. Ever since her dad first went on the campaign trail many years ago, cousins and family members would have sleepovers to assemble campaign materials. Even today, says Raaheela, her grandparents are ‘out there’ campaigning for her.

Her dad brought members of the community to the polls, introducing many them to the democratic process. Raaheela’s own 2016 run brought many more young people out to support her race. Running for office has had a ‘cascading effect’  says Raaheela. It’s galvanized other young people to run for office in 2018 and 2020, including her own sister.

As a woman of color, “You have to believe in yourself, ” Raaheela says. This remarkable young woman tells DesiCollective the story of her immigrant family’s runs for local office and never giving up, even after losing some of them.  In her second term, she has plans to help the students in her county during the pandemic and beyond.

This story is the seventh in our series on conversation with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!

If you live in Prince George’s County in Maryland or anywhere else, take a look! You will be inspired to run yourself.


SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office

Short Takes: Belal Aftab in Saratoga

Short Takes : Harbir Bhatia in Santa Clara

Short Takes: Sri Muppidi in Dublin

Short Takes: Kuljeet Kalkat in Los Altos

Short Takes: Ajit Varma in Palo Alto

Short Takes: Sumiti Mehta in Natomas

South Asians Running for Office – Ajit Varma in Palo Alto, CA

Ajit Varma is running for City Council because he wants Palo Alto to be the best place to live, raise a family, and start a company for generations to come.

 
Ajit tells DesiCollective about his Silicon Valley dream that brought him to Palo Alto when he was just 19. He is raising his young family in the city and if he is elected, hopes to encourage investment and innovation in housing, jobs, development and technology. 
 

This story is the fifth in our series on conversations with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where first time contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!

If you live in Palo Alto, take a look!

SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office

Short Takes: Belal Aftab in Saratoga

Short Takes : Harbir Bhatia in Santa Clara

Short Takes: Sri Muppidi in Dublin

Short Takes: Kuljeet Kalkat in Los Altos

Short Takes: Sumiti Mehta in Natomas

South Asians Running for Office – Sumiti Mehta in Natomas, CA

Sumiti Mehta volunteered for an incredible 11 years in her school district. All those years in the classroom gave her a bird’s eye view of what works and what doesn’t for the schoolchildren of Natomas- the second most diverse school district in the country.

Sumiti was the first Indian-origin Parks Commissioner for the city she now calls home, and told  DesiCollective about her vision for the future of Natomas schools  – she’s running for one of three vacant seats on the school board.

What drives her? South Asians aren’t represented because “they don’t step up for things” says Sumiti. You can’t move the needle if you don’t push your boundaries -“that uncomfortable feeling? We have to get over it!”

This story is the sixth in our series on conversation with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where first time contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!

If you live in Natomas, take a look!

SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office

Short Takes: Belal Aftab in Saratoga

Short Takes : Harbir Bhatia in Santa Clara

Short Takes: Sri Muppidi in Dublin

Short Takes: Kuljeet Kalkat in Los Altos

Short Takes: Ajit Varma in Palo Alto

 

South Asians Running for Office – Kuljeet Kalkat in Los Altos, CA

Kuljeet Kalkat is running for office in Los Altos. A 30 year Los Altos resident, Kuljeet is a former tech executive who is currently a realtor, and once owned a downtown business called Cranberry Scoop with his wife. Kuljeet also served as Chairman of the Los Altos Financial Commission. He tells DesiCollective he understands how his city works.

Kuljeet says he believes in collective responsibility and will promote a culture of dialogue in Los Altos.

This story is the fourth in our series on conversation with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where first time contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!

If you live in Los Altos, take a look!

SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office

Short Takes: Belal Aftab in Saratoga

Short Takes : Harbir Bhatia in Santa Clara

Short Takes: Sri Muppidi in Dublin

Short Takes: Ajit Varma in Palo Alto

Short Takes: Sumiti Mehta in Natomas

South Asians Running for Office – Sri Muppidi in Dublin, CA

Sri Muppidi, a 25 year-old Stanford graduate, is running for city council in her hometown, Dublin.  She may be one of the youngest candidates in the surge of South Asians running for office in the Bay Area – but Sri tells DesiCollective she is motivated by the urgency of the moment – with Covid-19 decimating the economy and Climate Change wreaking havoc on our environment. Sri wants a hand in shaping the future for her generation. 

This story is the third in our series on conversation with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where first time contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!

If you live in Dublin, take a look!

SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office

Short Takes: Belal Aftab in Saratoga

Short Takes : Harbir Bhatia in Santa Clara

Short Takes: Kuljeet Kalkat in Los Altos

Short Takes: Ajit Varma in Palo Alto

Short Takes: Sumiti Mehta in Natomas

 

 

South Asians Running for Office – Harbir Bhatia in Santa Clara

Though they excel in their chosen fields, South Asians tend to ‘play it safe’ when it comes to running for public office, says Harbir Kaur Bhatia – who is running for a seat on the Santa Clara City Council.  They tend not to venture outside of their chosen professions and engage in the hardscrabble demands of a political campaign.  As a result, minority voices have long been missing from the civic discourse of the communities they live in.

But that’s changing with the next generation of South Asians says Bhatia, especially when they see political contenders – whether at local state or federal level- who look like them or share their ethnic identity.

Bhatia – a community organizer, engineer, civic entrepreneur and longtime resident of the City of Santa Clara ,who is commited to IK Onkar,  the central message of Sikhi, tells DesiCollective why she’s challenging the status quo in District 1 of the Santa Clara City Council.

This story is the second in our series on conversation with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where first time contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!

SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office

Short Takes: Belal Aftab in Saratoga

Short Takes: Sri Muppidi in Dublin

Short Takes: Kuljeet Kalkat in Los Altos

Short Takes: Ajit Varma in Palo Alto

Short Takes: Sumiti Mehta in Natomas

 

South Asians Running for Office – Belal Aftab in Saratoga

A record number of South Asians are running for political office for the very first time across California. They come from the hi-tech, finance and the non-profit sectors, but what is unique is they represent a new generation that is ready to take an important next step – engaging with conviction in the civic life of this nation.

What drives them? What are their hopes and inspiration? What sort of difference do they hope to make?

DesiCollective finds out why.

This is the first in our series on our conversation with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where first time contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!

Find out more from Belal Aftab, running for City Council in Saratoga.

http://https://youtu.be/h2rRTQ1LdBU

SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office

Short Takes : Harbir Bhatia in Santa Clara

Short Takes: Sri Muppidi in Dublin

Short Takes: Kuljeet Kalkat in Los Altos

Short Takes: Ajit Varma in Palo Alto

Short Takes: Sumiti Mehta in Natomas