Edison, NJ – The New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC) today joined with leaders from the South Asian community to officially kickoff the South Asian American Caucus. This inaugural event represents the culmination of the New Jersey State Democratic Party’s commitment to this growing and vibrant community, a community that has long supported democratic values in the state. New Jersey has the third largest South Asian population after California and New York. According to the latest census data, there are more than 350,000 South Asians residing in New Jersey. The South Asian community is very diverse. It includes people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan descent.

The kickoff was attended by the highest ranking South Asian American elected to office in New Jersey, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-LD17), the Chairman of the NJDSC, John Currie, gubernatorial candidate Senator Barbara Buono, and members of the South Asian American community.

"Over the years, I have worked very closely with members of the South Asian community, who are not only my colleagues, but also my friends," said John Currie, Chairman, New Jersey Democratic State Committee. "The South Asian community is diligent, dedicated, and passionate about moving the Garden State forward. Operating under the New Jersey Democratic State Committee umbrella, the South Asian American Caucus will be a place to organize and motivate an increasingly influential constituency."

"With the growth of our communities over the past four decades, South Asian Americans have an important place on New Jersey's commercial and cultural scene," said Dr. Khyati Y. Joshi, Co-chair, New Jersey State Democratic Committee South Asian American Caucus. "This caucus will create opportunities for South Asian Americans to take on roles of political prominence that reflect our communities' achievements."

Gubernatorial candidate, Barbara Buono, who actively engaged with the NJ South Asian community on the Anti-Bullying legislation, reaffirmed her commitment to continue working closely with the South Asian American community.

“Members of our community, in preparation for the November 5th elections, have actively been engaged in voter registration drives across the state. The Caucus will build upon that work and mobilize our community to support Democratic leaders, such as Senator Buono, who have demonstrated their commitment to New Jersey’s South Asian community,” stated Satish Poondi, Co-Chair of the South Asian American Caucus.

The leadership of the South Asian American Caucus believes in the core democratic values of equal opportunity and economic justice, as well as the rights of women, minorities and immigrants to participate fully and equally in the promise of the United States. The South Asian American Caucus will offer a statewide platform within New Jersey's Democratic State Committee to discuss issues important to the South Asian community and to support and elevate members of our community interested in pursuing elected office. 

About Dr. Khyati Joshi, Co-Chair, NJDSC South Asian American Caucus Dr. Khyati Y. Joshi is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is the author of New Roots in America's Sacred Ground: Religion, Race and Ethnicity in Indian America and numerous other publications.

About Satish Poondi, Co-Chair, NJDSC South Asian American Caucus Satish Poondi, Esq. is an associate at the law firm of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A. and a member of its Mass Tort / Class Action Team. Mr. Poondi is also a registered pharmacist, completing the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Rutgers University. He is active in the field of pharmacy academia. He is an advisor to multiple pharmacy organizations and a guest lecturer at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University. Mr. Poondi regularly presents continuing education seminars relating to important pharmaceutical legal issues for programs sponsored by academic institutions, professional organizations, and retail chains.