Diversity and Politics…

01 Feb 18

Being a 1st generation female immigrant, I can definitely say I have encountered both racism and sexism throughout my personal and professional life.  While my parents brought us to this country for equal opportunity, the country definitely gave us more opportunity than our place of birth but that opportunity was not always equal.  One has to create a thick shell around them to not let racist and sexist behavior bring them down and keep marching forward.  Whether it is always being “randomly selected” at TSA screenings or not getting a fair shot in male-dominated corporate industries, you take the punches and keep moving forward.

While Corporate America moves towards diversity and inclusion because they have recognized that it drives innovation and success, we don’t see the same initiatives in public service and it is evident in the lack of diversity of the candidates representing us in the various branches of our government.   It’s not that we didn’t know that racism and sexism exist in America, but it has become more acceptable to make offensive remarks about ones’ gender, race, or creed because many in power have created a hate-filled, divisive culture in this land of equal opportunity and I for one am extremely grateful for it.  While there may be short term damage from this culture, the long-term benefits are becoming very visible.  As I saw for the second time in a row, the Women’s March pick up momentum a few weeks ago, I realized that those wanting to push us back to the days where we had less control over our rights are actually doing the opposite – they are giving us the fuel needed to step in and change what we don’t agree with. 

According to research by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutger’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, the total number of women running for the House of Representatives have more than doubled since the last midterm election season.  From 156 women in 2014, there are 354 women running this year.  And I am confident that if research is done to find a pattern in candidates from various ethnicities running, we would also see a rise there.  Many of them who have had nothing to do with politics in the past – physicians, engineers, business people are all putting away their successful lives to enter politics and make a difference for others. 

While running for a political position may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I encourage all our readers to learn more about the candidates running in their districts and get out and vote for this people and throw their support around those willing to give up successful lives to fight hate and inequality.  It is time that those entering politics shake up the education credentials, male-female ratios, ethnicity ratios and truly create a government that is a reflection of the melting pot that America is.   It will be this diversity and culture of inclusion that will drive our great country back to success again.  Our readers can educate themselves on upcoming elections, including special elections on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website at https://www.azsos.gov/elections/elections-calendar-upcoming-events.   A key special election coming up in Congressional District 8 is to replace Trent Franks – a candidate that resigned shortly after allegations of sexual misconduct.  And, in this election, we see two women of diverse backgrounds including one of South Asian heritage step forward and challenge the type of candidate that has always won in CD8.   If you live in CD8, get out there and vote in the Special Primary Election on February 27 and the Special General Election on April 24 and help make a difference!  And keep watching the AZ SOS site for additional special and regularly scheduled election dates and exercise your right to vote!