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How the Kamala Harris pick is playing with Indian Americans, a fast-growing and influential voting bloc

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal got a one-word text from her mother Maya Jayapal when Sen. Kamala Harris was announced as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. 

“KAMALA.” 

An uncle texted her about the connection between her great aunt P.K. Devi, and Harris’ aunt Sarala Gopalan, who studied under Devi in medical school. 

The flood of texts from her family has not let up. 

The California senator’s first name, which means “lotus” in Sanskrit, has cascaded across social media and spilled into Indian family WhatsApp message groups since Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, announced her as his running mate Tuesday. An emotional video of a tear-filled Harini Krishnan, an Indian American on the Biden campaign, percolated online while a 2019 video of Harris making dosas, a south Indian dish, with comedian Mindy Kaling again went viral on Twitter.

Sen. Harris’ aunt, Sarala Gopalan, wrote this acknowledgment to Rep. Jayapal's aunt, P.K. Devi in a medical textbook.
Sen. Harris’ aunt, Sarala Gopalan, wrote this acknowledgment to Rep. Jayapal’s aunt,
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U.S. senators should stop playing politics with America’s hungry children

The surge in COVID-19 cases across Florida and the nation, coupled with the looming expiration of federal benefits programs, mean many families are worried about the future. Perhaps most immediate for some Floridians is the fear of food insecurity and the likelihood that they will not be able to provide their families with nutritious meals. All of us are questioning when this “storm will run out of rain,” The future lies in the hands of our representatives in Congress, who just returned to work this week.

In too many households, even pre-COVID, the cumulative cost of housing, childcare, food, transportation and healthcare didn’t leave room for savings or unexpected expenses. COVID has created extreme financial stress and missed meals, exacerbating these worsening circumstances and putting millions of families at risk. A study from Northwestern University indicates that, despite government aid that has kept unemployment figures steady, food insecurity has doubled,

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