American Turban

Presidential campaigns speak to Sikh and Asian American issues

"Navdeep Singh asking Obama camp surrogate about job training and employment discrimination." (source: SALDEF)

“Navdeep Singh asking Obama camp surrogate about job training and employment discrimination.” (source: SALDEF)

Ten days ago, representatives of President Barack Obama and Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney participated in a town hall organized by APIAVote to speak to Asian American issues. Rep. Mike Honda, attending on behalf of the President, offered the Sikh greeting to acknowledge the community:

Honda, a Democrat from California who is chair emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, gave a shout-out to the Sikh community before answering questions on behalf of the Obama campaign. “Saat Sri Akaal, my Sikh brothers and sisters,” said Honda, who represents the Silicon Valley and parts of Fremont, Calif.

The representatives of both campaigns (former Rep. Tim Davis spoke on behalf of Mitt Romney) responded to questions posed by the Asian American community including those of Sikhs:

Speaking after the town hall, [Navdeep] Singh of SALDEF told India-West that the organization was very happy that both candidates participated. “SALDEF believes that the campaigns must address the issues of the Sikh American community,” he said, including the flagging economy, health care, education and immigration reform, but also school bullying, racial profiling and employment discrimination.

“(This event) showed our community that the candidates are willing to discuss their issues,” he said.

There has been increased attention to the Asian American community recently, and a very competitive election cycle may be providing the motivation:

Still, much of the AAPI vote remains undecided between the two candidates.

“While Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders seem to prefer Democratic candidates, many don’t know the differences between Democrats and Republicans, because they haven’t been engaged by either party,” said pollster Celinda Lake.

It is encouraging that our voices as Asians and Sikhs are being heard, but the proof of that will come over the next four years.

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