A 20-year-old Indian American student represented the state of Maryland at the Democratic Party Convention’s roll call to determine the party’s presidential nominee.
Bianca Shah, the leader of the Joe Biden campaign’s youth outreach to South Asians, declared during the roll call that he will build back the nation better.
An activist since the age of 15, Shah said that her selection to represent the state shows that “the Biden campaign appreciates the work of young people, young minorities and women.”
“I was absolutely shocked and absolutely honoured as well when I received the call that Biden campaign had chosen me, because in most states it is the elected officials who are performing the roll call,” she said.
“Hopefully I can inspire other young people and young Indians that they can become involved and do exactly what I am doing.”
She and her father, Devang Shah, share a distinction: they were both elected in the party’s primary election to be delegates to the national convention supporting Biden, making a daughter-father team.
Bianca Shah started in politics by working for the Hillary Clinton campaign when she was 15 years old, and served on the Democratic county committee as a student member. She also worked as an intern for two Maryland Congressmen.
She joined the Biden campaign and now leads the South Asian Youth for Biden, organising outreach events around the country targeting the community.
“I felt that he was the best candidate in terms of what America needed to recover from, all the mess that Trump has created for so many people around this country,” she said about her decision to support the former vice president Biden.
As a student at the University of Michigan, she said that she has met people on both sides of the political divide and had conversations with them. This reinforced her belief that the country needed a presidential candidate “who is going to be active in issues such as health care, immigration, foreign affairs like Biden does.”
According to her father Devang Shah, the selection of Kamala Harris as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate energised the Indian American community.
“She will be a role model for our children,” he said.
Indian Americans turned out at a very high rate to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and with Harris as the vice-presidential candidate, a bigger turnout is expected.
Indian Americans and South Asians could make a difference in the election’s outcome in the swing states, where the margins of victory are very small.
“There was a margin of victory of 10,000 in Michigan. If we had voted at the level of the general population, then we would have had Hillary Clinton as the president, not Trump. And that is what we need to do, we need to get out the vote in 2020,” Shah emphasised.