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Democratic voters gather to discuss politics and the November midterm election.

November 2018
Democratic voters gather to discuss politics and the November midterm election.

(Left) Candidate for State House District 97 Aisha Yaqoob talks about the importance of getting out the vote.

In two separate sessions, September 30 and October 13, 2018, local Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Democrats gathered in homes for panel discussions featuring Democratic staff members—the behind-the-scenes leaders working to elect Georgia’s Democratic candidates. The goal of each “Chai & Chaat” was to raise awareness about the candidates on the ballot as well as to disseminate information about the election process. AAPIs make up over 4 percent of the population in Georgia. Historically, they have the lowest voter turnout.

The first “open house” took place at the home of Anjali Enjeti in Johns Creek, and the second was at the home of Naheed and Feroza Syed in Sandy Springs. At both events, voters asked about canvassing (the process of volunteers knocking on other Democratic voters’ doors), as well as the benefits of voting early or with an absentee ballot. Panelists at both events emphasized the importance of not only voting, but also volunteering for Democratic candidates’ campaigns. Both “Chai & Chaat” events brought dozens of attendees, many of whom signed up to volunteer or donated to campaigns afterward.

Pallavi Purkayastha, Chief of Staff to David Dreyer, Campaign Manager to Angelika Kausche for State House District 50, and board member of Red Clay Democrats, served as a panelist at both events. “The ‘Chai & Chaat’ events got people who were unfamiliar with a complicated process together in a friendly room where they could ask questions.” Selina Molly attended the event in Johns Creek. “What I found most fascinating about the Chai & Chaat session was the qualifications, diversity, passion, and commitment of the panel. Overall, it was energizing and positive in the midst of voter suppression news—it made me feel hopeful that we are on the right track.”

The Election Day at hand: November 6, 2018.

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At the Johns Creek Chai & Chaat: Grace Choi, Asian American and Pacific Islander Constituency Director for the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Coordinated Campaign;
Pallavi Purkayastha, Chief of Staff to State Representative David Dreyer and Campaign Manager to Georgia House 50 candidate Angelika Kausche;
Felix Wu, Deputy Campaign Manager for Zahra Karinshak's State Senate campaign (District 48);
Priyanka Mantha, Communications Director for Stacey Abrams for Governor;
Vasu Abhiraman, Writer and Content Creator for the Strategic Communications Team;
Namrata Kolachalam is the Deputy Director of Strategic Communications at the Georgia Democratic Party;
Savith Sampath, the Field Organizer for the Democratic Party of Georgia in Gwinnett County. (Photo: Mira Sydow)

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At the Johns Creek Chai & Chaat, Anjali Enjeti, member of the Georgia Democratic AAPI Leadership Council, moderated a discussion that 40 people attended. (Photo: Mira Sydow)

Mantha, Abhiraman, and Kolachalam. (Photo: Mira Sydow)

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From the Sandy Springs Chai & Chaat,
Feroza Syed, co-host with Naheed Syed (not pictured), activist and real estate agent;
Long Tran, member of the Georgia Democratic AAPI Leadership Council;
Aisha Yaqoob, candidate for State House District 97;

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Some 50 people attended the second “Chai & Chaat”

[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for November 2018, not in the print/digital issues.]


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