POLITICS

Asian-Americans Win School Board Election Despite 'Deport' Fliers

"See, racism does not win."

11/08/2017 15:46 EST | Updated 11/08/2017 16:47 EST

After being targeted in widely-circulated, racist campaign fliers, two school board candidates in New Jersey won their election. 

Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel won seats on the Edison Township Public Schools board on Tuesday night, despite being attacked in anonymous ads that featured “Deport” splashed on top of their pictures. The fliers also targeted the Asian communities in the township, which has a significant Asian-American population. The text read: “The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.”

But the two candidates’ wins has led to an outpouring of support from people across Twitter, including former United States Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, who praised those in Edison for ignoring the message of the disparaging fliers. 

In addition to Shi and Patel, Beth Moroney and Paul Distefano also won seats on the board. Authorities told HuffPost that an investigation regarding the mailers is still underway. The culprit has not yet been determined. 

Suman Raghunathan, the executive director of the nonprofit South Asian Americans Leading Together, previously told HuffPost that ads, which were also printed with “Make Edison Great Again,” a riff on President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, echoed the administration’s rhetoric and crackdowns on both legal and illegal immigration. 

With more than 190 cases of hate and violence tracked by SAALT since the 2016 election, Raghunathan mentioned that many with racist views may feel emboldened by the administration. But she pointed out that it’s important to spread awareness on the benefits of diversity and how the growth of these cultural communities should be celebrated. 

“The sentiments espoused by these flyers are un-American,” she told HuffPost. “We are with you, we are not going away, and we see you. Our nation is better than this.”