Zohran Kwame Mamdani, son of filmmaker Mira Nair, wins election to New York State Assembly

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November 4, 2020 8:31 PM

Indian-Ugandan Zohran Kwame Mamdani, son of filmmaker Mira Nair, has won the election for New York State Assembly

Zohran Kwame MamdaniIndian-Ugandan Zohran Kwame Mamdani is son of filmmaker Mira Nair

Indian-Ugandan Zohran Kwame Mamdani, son of filmmaker Mira Nair, has won the election for New York State Assembly, one of two candidates of Indian-origin elected to NY state office. “It’s official: we won. I’m going to Albany to fight to tax the rich, heal the sick, house the poor & build a socialist New York. But I can’t do it alone. To win socialism, we’ll need a mass movement of the multiracial working class as well. So let’s build one,” Mamdani tweeted.

A report in patch.com said Mamdani, 29, Democratic nominee for the 36th Assembly District, ran unopposed in the general election after defeating incumbent Assembly Member Aravella Simotas in the Democratic primary election in June. He had got 8,410 votes or 51.2 per cent of the ballots cast in the June primary while Simotas had got 48.6 per cent of the votes. Mamdani got automatic win once the polls closed Tuesday night in New York City.

He is a first-time candidate for elected office and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America or DSA.

In a tweet, Nair said “And Zohran is in! Change is gonna come.”

On his website, Mamdani said he is running for State Assembly because it’s time to guarantee housing to all New Yorkers as a right, regardless of ability to pay. It’s time to desegregate our schools, fully eliminate cash bail, ban solitary confinement, fund and fix the MTA, end workplace discrimination, and fight for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice for the many, not the few.

Mamdani said this election isn’t about a single candidate but about a movement. “As a democratic socialist, I know that we’ll never win the rights we all deserve – rights to healthcare, housing, education, nutrition, childcare, and public power – without a grassroots movement of the working class rising up to demand them. Another world is possible, but only if we fight for it together.”

Mamdani was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda, and grew up in New York City after his family moved here when he was seven years old. Indian-American lawyer Jenifer Rajkumar also got elected to New York State Assembly, becoming the first South Asian woman elected to NY state office. Rajkumar, Democratic Nominee for NY State Assembly, is a Stanford-educated lawyer and immigrant-rights advocate.

“Congratulations to @JeniferRajkumar on becoming the first South Asian woman elected to NY state office! Jenifer is a longtime public servant and legal advocate, and we know she’ll be a strong advocate for South Asian voices in Albany,” the Indian American Impact Fund tweeted. Rajkumar will represent New York City in the state legislature. The 38th Assembly District includes Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale.

Rajkumar is a lawyer, Professor at City University of New York and former New York State Government official. According to her profile on her website, Rajkumar has early roots in public service. She graduated from Stanford Law School with distinction for her pro bono legal work on behalf of vulnerable individuals. Her parents immigrated to the United States from India and settled in the Queens neighbourhood of New York.

Rajkumar serves on the Legal Advisory Council of Sanctuary for Families, New York City’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence. She has spoken on public interest law and policy at Stanford Law School, CUNY Law School and Harvard Law School.

In 2015 and 2016, she was selected to Super Lawyers’ New York-Metro Rising Stars List, a recognition given to no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in New York. Her profile said Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo had appointed her as the Director of Immigration Affairs & Special Counsel for New York State

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