On January 27, Indian American Susan Patel was announced as the new president of the Indo-American Democratic Organization (IADO) based in Chicago, Illinois.

Patel promised that the IADO will continue to effectively represent the best interests of the Illinois’ South Asian Americans. “We’ll remain as the leading voice for our many South Asian American communities on the issues and values that matter most to us, especially with the upcoming presidential election in 2020,” she said.

Joining Patel in the new team were Abin Kuriakose and Shajan Kuriakose as Vice President and Treasurer respectively.

The news of their leadership team was announced after a successful 2018 midterm election where IADO said that it played a crucial role in electing Illinois’s first South Asian American state legislator.

The board of directors now also includes Bushra Amiwallah, Samay Gheewala, Nazneen Hashmi, Tom Kalayil, Al Khalfan, Sam Kukadia, Maneesh Limaye, Dr. Dilara Sayeed, and Vivek Yeldandi. 

State Senator Ram Villivalam, who represented Illinois’ eighth state senate district and recently became Acting Democratic Committeeman for Chicago’s 39th Ward, has been officially succeeded by Patel.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the work we have done at IADO to educate as well as support Democratic candidates and increase civic engagement within our community,” stated Villivalam. The former state senator also expressed his excitement for Patel’s vision in engaging South Asian Americans in the upcoming presidential election.

There are approximately 290,000 South Asians in the state of Illinois according to the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute. South Asians were the fastest-growing ethnic group in Illinois, growing at 55.6 percent from 2000 to 2010. Indeed, there is much promise for the new leadership in effecting South Asian Americans to take on a much bigger role in molding the future of Illinois.

IADO strives to engage South Asian Americans in the political process where they will recruit and endorse candidates for public office who share the values of the South Asian community and advocate a progressive agenda that benefit working and immigrant families. 

It is no question that IADO will continue its legacy as one of the oldest South Asian American political advocacy organizations in the United States.

Feb 18, 2020

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