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Activists in New Jersey launch organisation to empower South Asian-American women

American women of South Asian descent have launched an organisation in New Jersey aimed at inspiring and empowering other women of the same ethnic background to have a greater voice in their communities.

The organisation, Inspiring South Asian American Women (ISAAW), a non-partisan organisation founded by a group of both veteran and fresh civic engagement activists from across NJ, "seeks to bring other South Asian-American women together to promote community engagement and public service" in the area, according to an ISAAW press release.

The ISAAW was officially launched at an event in New Brunswick on Wednesday night, with a crowd of approximately 100 people, mostly women, attending from across the state to hear about ISAAW and how it can support them and their efforts towards engagement in their own communities.

Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver delivered the keynote address at the event, touching on inclusion and emphasising the critical value in enabling women to have a seat at the table, the handout read.

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"Women can perform in any occupational scale that can be established," Assemblywoman Oliver said.

She encouraged attendees to take their knowledge, education and assertiveness and "put it to use."

"Be the change agents we know we can be, lending our voices of influence to issues the most important to us, and our communities. I see in this room future mayors, freeholders, and members of Congress."

ISAAW Board President Kiran Gill was pleased to see the high level of interest from South Asian-American women wanting to get more politically engaged.

Gill said: "I am business owner in the state and I consider myself to be relatively informed about New Jersey’s political process. However, in creating this organisation I was surprised to learn about many South Asian-American women that are doing great things in our communities and the inspiring trailblazers that currently hold political office. I know through building these connections that number can only grow."

ISAAW Board Vice President Khyat Joshi commented on the "tremendous amount of talent and skill amongst NJ South Asian-American women".

Although immigrant women have helped build a number of cultural and religious organisations in the state, "they often don't hold leadership positions in these organisations."

"ISAAW places South Asian-American women front and centre, by connecting South Asian-American women across the state with each other and with opportunities to serve the public good here in New Jersey."

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