[Series] South Asians Spicing Up Politics: Zahra Suratwala
What experience led you to public service?
After the presidential election in 2016, I realized that more people like myself needed to run for office. We need diverse representation at all levels of government, and if I am able to run, I feel it is my responsibility to do so. Especially because of the events of the past year and a half.
What role has your South Asian identity played in your political perspective?
As an Indian American woman, I see that unless Asian Americans are actively engaged in politics, our community will not be represented fairly. I want the next generation to see that members of the Asian American community are just as involved in politics as any other community, and I do not want to see my community negatively affected by a lack of diverse representation any longer.
3. What advice do you have for South Asians who might run for office?
Go for it! If you are determined, willing to learn, ready to work hard, and most of all kind and empathetic, you are more than qualified to run for office. Send a message, set an example, and go for it. And remember that often members of our community have to work harder than our white counterparts to achieve the same goals- this is part of the institutionalized racism that we are trying to combat by becoming more involved. Do not be deterred; instead, see this as the thing your running for office will, in fact, mitigate.
4. Why should South Asian Americans vote?
Everyone has a vote, and everyone should use it. The South Asian community should vote so that they have agency, so that they have a voice, so that they have a choice. Unless we use our right to vote, we will not see our community progress. We should vote so that our elected officials better represent all of us.
Polls open November 6, 2018. Go Vote!