(TRENTON) -- Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra J. Chivukula heralded the launch of the first-ever South Asian American Caucus of the New Jersey State Democratic Committee (NJSDC) as a historic milestone. Chivukula is the first and only South Asian American in the 120-member state Legislature and the highest ranking South Asian elected to office in New Jersey.
At more than four percent, South Asians form the largest component of the state's Asian-American group, which accounts for an estimated nine percent of New Jersey's nearly nine million population.
Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra J. Chivukula (D-Somerset\Middlesex) issued the following statement:
"The launch of the South Asian American Caucus of the New Jersey State Democratic Committee (NJSDC) marks a historic milestone in the political evolution of the South Asian community and a victory for the state's Democratic Party. The state's Democratic Party was the first to mobilize the new immigrant community of South Asians into an organized caucus, which, during its kick-off earlier this week, made a significant contribution of $25,000 to the NJSDC. I commend NJSDC Chairman John Currie and the co-chairs of the newly formed caucus, Dr. Khyati Joshi and Satish Poondi Esq., for this singular accomplishment."
"The way to political empowerment is through participation which includes getting out the vote in support of our elected representatives. As a party worker for more than 20 years, and a state lawmaker for more than ten years, it has been my privilege to rally the South Asian American community to participate in the political process from the grassroots level including voter registration drives to campaigning and fundraising for gubernatorial, congressional and presidential elections."
"I am delighted at the endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Senator Barbara Buono by our state's first-ever South Asian American Caucus, which has been formed within the state's Democratic Party. The caucus will provide a real and lasting platform to empower our community to participate in New Jersey's political process and to address issues and concerns that matter greatly to South Asian Americans, including racial equality, immigration reform, economic justice, minority rights and equal opportunity."