In a first, a small town in New Jersey elected a Sikh man as the Mayor of Hoboken. An Indian-American, Ravi Bhalla will become Hoboken’s first Sikh mayor, days after he was targeted by racist flyers, that deemed him as a ‘terrorist’. Bhalla had been the subject of anonymously distributed pamphlets with the message “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our Town!”
However, not afraid of such racist propaganda, he said on Twitter, “we won’t let hate win.” Dismissing racist leaflets, the City Council member, who is also a lawyer, defeated five other candidates to win the race.
Bhalla was supported by current Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who in a surprising decision announced not to run for re-election in June, a PTI report said.
Bhalla thanked his supporters after the result was declared, “Thank you Hoboken. I look forward to being your Mayor!,” he tweeted.
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) November 8, 2017
During the run for the election, the campaign turned ugly as racist attacks were made targetting the Sikh man who is born and brought-up in America. However, he is not the only one to be under such an attack. Another Indian Falguni Patel who was fighting for a post in the Edison Township School Board experienced similar hate. She and a Chinese-American candidate, Jerry Shi, were targeted in a poster that said that they should be “deported” and urged people not to vote for them as the “Chinese and Indians are taking over our town”. However, defeating hate, both Patel and Shi won the elections.
This is what political campaigning looks like in Edison, NJ
“The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town” pic.twitter.com/Pb4VdWzHui
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) November 2, 2017
Not just supporters of Patel and Bhalla, but Americans across the country took to social media to express their happiness and condemn racism.
Nice work New Jersey. And Virginia. And Seattle. And Hoboken. And Edison. And Prince William County. And Minneapolis. Hey, nice work America
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) November 8, 2017
Every candidate targeted by Republicans in these racist mailers won their elections tonight. Jerry Shi, Falguni Patel, Laura Curran, Hala Ayala. Gives you just a glimmer of hope for America’s future. https://t.co/JKlF6EeTOo
— Jason Sheltzer (@JSheltzer) November 8, 2017
MORE VICTORIES for Asian Americans in NEW JERSEY:
1st Sikh mayor in Hoboken and entire state (despite being targeted as “terrorist”) #RaviBhalla
— hjm (@tosomefortune) November 8, 2017
Sikh American Ravi Bhalla won his race for mayor of Hoboken, NJ. Wow, this is AMAZING. Love trumps hate AGAIN. 😭❤️✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/QPzlfb00P8
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) November 8, 2017
This is great!!! CONGRATS
— Peter Heacock (@PeteHeacock) November 8, 2017
This Jersey Girl wants to say Congratulations, @ravibhalla ! Hate does not win
— Gabrielle Lessard 🗽 (@GabrielleLesard) November 8, 2017
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) November 8, 2017
fliers smeared Ravi Bhalla — a Sikh who wears a turban — as a terrorist, but he won the six-way election to be Hoboken’s next mayor anyway https://t.co/pRmOfSJAnO
— Filipa Ioannou (@obioannoukenobi) November 8, 2017
Overcoming racism – A play in two acts: pic.twitter.com/LzIQ9ZAcqf
— Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) November 8, 2017
Thanks for running a campaign rooted in decency and dignity, Ravi. Your inclusiveness and @dawnzimmernj‘s backing won my vote. Now do our whole city proud. :)
— Myles Helfand (@myhelfy) November 8, 2017
A sikh mayor in Hoboken. A black woman in Charlotte. A transgender woman VA Delegate in Manassas and 2 Latinas in Prince William. A socialist in Richmond.
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) November 8, 2017
Tonight Karma is a transgender woman, a black female Mayor, a turbaned Sikh Mayor, an Asian American elected official, a black LT Governor, a white man who ran on gun control after losing his girlfriend to gun violence. In other words, Karma is American.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) November 8, 2017
For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of
my country. We elected the 1st Trans woman, VA. The 1st Sikh Mayor, NJ. The 1st Lesbian Mayor, Seattle and the 2nd African American to a statewide office in VA. #PeopleAreHungryForChange
— Debbie (@Dangchick1) November 8, 2017
Voters today chose
-2 new Democratic governors
-2 black lieutenant governors
-2 transgender officials
-A Black Lives Matter lawyer as DA in Philly
-A Sikh mayor in Hoboken
-A socialist in Virginia
-To oust GOP mayor in Atlantic City
-And to expand Medicaid in Maine#280characters
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 8, 2017
More rejection of Trump‼️👏👏👏
Hoboken, New Jersey elects its first Sikh mayor in history
Ravi Bhalla, a city council member, beat five other candidates
He overcame a campaign filled with racist attacks #hobokenmayor #usa #NewJersey @realDonaldTrump #Sikh #DiversityWins pic.twitter.com/DLAbPPmucJ
— Unite Alberta (@UniteAlbertans) November 8, 2017
The beauty of US lies in it’s diversity, in it’s tolerance and people’s acceptance to other cultures.. First #Sikh as a Mayor, first #transgender legislative…. African-American Lt Governor.. pic.twitter.com/2SdSlwsa0E
— Dr. Aliya Kareem (@DrAliya7) November 8, 2017
Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel, who were the targets of racist smear tactics, were elected to the Edison, NJ, school board. pic.twitter.com/Auo6kOJTNc
— Monique Teal (@TealBomb) November 8, 2017
Really proud of what the people of Virginia, New Jersey, and New York City accomplished today. These elections show: when you mock our values, Americans react. #VoteBlue🇺🇸
— Eli Beckman (@elihbeckman) November 8, 2017
You see what we did tonight? In Virginia? In New Jersey? In Maine?
If you fire or allow Mueller to be fired it will not work out well for you.
The voters control the agenda. We are your bosses.
Deal with it.
— Take Ivanka to Work (@IvankaToWorkDay) November 8, 2017