Tuesday Nov 23, 2021

The AAPI community saved our democracy in 2020, what now? with Varun Nikore

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Varun Nikore

2020 saw the greatest increase in voter turnout by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in history. That turnout powered the vote in key states like Georgia and helped prevent another four years with the former guy.

I wish the fight for our democracy was over but it's clearly not and there are some important lessons to take away from what happened in 2020. 

My guest today is Varun Nikore, president of the AAPI Victory Alliance. Varun and I discuss the history of the AAPI community here and how they have come to play such an important role in determining the outcome of key elections and, consequently, the direction of our country.

Though they have been in this country since its inception and here in large numbers since the late 1800's AAPI people are still often seen as "other", and the hateful and harmful rhetoric around Covid hasn't helped. 

In this wide ranging conversation Varun and I look at the challenges and some of the solutions to problems confronting AAPI people here, including those recently resettled from Afghanistan.

This conversation was so interesting and it gave me things to do to help bring justice to this marginalized group of people. 

Listen, learn, and then take action. 

Together we can build the world we want to live in.

About Varun:

My guest today Varun Nikore has for more than 30 years been involved in national state and local politics as a campaign strategist, fundraiser and policy advisor and AAPI leader. In 1998, he was appointed to serve in the Clinton administration. He is the founder and past president of the Indian American Leadership Initiative, which is the largest Indian American network of Democrats in the United States. In 2008, Varun served as a transportation policy adviser for President Obama under Obama for America. He is the current president of AAPI victory fund and executive director of AAPI Victory Alliance.

For a written transcript of this conversation click here.

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Credits:

Harmonica music courtesy of a friend
Production support provided by the National Liberty Museum

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