Tribute to Pakistani American immigrant parents

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Aksa Asgher

I vividly remember November 8, 2016. On that day, I was sitting in a small conference room with a large oak table in the center of the room. I was surrounded by seven chairs filled with five men and two women. I could hear the ramblings of the news anchor on the television behind me.

As one of the meeting attendees stood up to increase the volume, I heard the reporter announce how close the U.S. presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was. My eyes remained glued to the screen, watching as the blue counter slowly increased, then the red counter, and finally, the blue counter simply stopped growing.

Shortly after that, in big white letters, the banner provided the shocking news that Donald Trump would be the new President of the United States. I remember my heart dropping in that moment, and I could feel the distress of the others in the room. How could my home country decide to elect someone who was so blatantly ill-suited for the office? But alas, the American people had spoken.

I am a daughter to immigrant parents from Pakistan. My parents came to this country in search of a better livelihood and the promise of opportunity. Although I am fortunate to live a comfortable life, just as my parents dreamed for me, I continue to feel the pervasive sense that I am an “other” in Trump’s America: a Pakistani-American, Muslim woman.

This feeling is what drove me to become actively engaged in this 2020 election and volunteer my time to ensure that our country would not collectively experience the sheer distress we felt on election night in 2016.

I first got involved in the 2020 election on behalf of Vice President Joe Biden, thanks to a dear friend who invited me to join a group: South Asians for Biden. I wasn’t aware that people of our backgrounds were represented in support of the presidential campaign, so I was thrilled to join.

For the last four months, I have served on the South Asians for Biden communications team. As a member of the team, I assist with the social media team, in particular, Instagram growth and engagement. In the short time that I’ve joined the team, we’ve seen an enormous spike in growth, and it has been exhilarating to see others align with our vision.

By being involved, I am paying homage to my parents’ legacy and advancing the values they instilled in me. While contributing to organizing the South Asian community, it has been a fantastic experience to see all the different groups come together to support Vice President Joe Biden.

Observing that there are various ways to become involved, raise one’s voice, and push for change, makes me hopeful that we are steering in the right direction in pushing for a perfect union. America, at its best, is a melting pot, a place where everyone is included and welcomed. With this election, I anticipate that we can rekindle that united spirit.

That despite all odds, we can remind ourselves of what makes this great nation so unique: its people. I am thrilled to cast my vote in this election with a sense of optimism that we will make a positive change. I urge everyone to vote on the side of equality and fair representation, to vote on the side that will bring us together, stand against wrongdoing, and vote for the Biden-Harris ticket. For me, a vote for

Vice President Biden and Senator Harris is a vote for my people, the American people.