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By Nominating Kamala Harris, Joe Biden Has Contended Trump’s America All At Once

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Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has hugely enhanced his prospects by announcing Kamala Harris as his running mate for Vice President. Kamala Harris is a senator from California, born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. She presents a class illustration of multilingual ethics, pride and values in a country known for preserving and promoting immigration and integration.

The US under Trump has been ratcheting under a rhetoric of insular and exclusionary form of nationalism and populism premised upon ethnic and racial lines of divide. Needless to say, the narrative has caused irreparable harm to America’s domestic and foreign policy interests. The US has started pulling back from many important treaties, conventions, and agreements, severely straining America’s association and cooperation with many European and Asian countries. This is also because political unpredictability has become a significant feature of Trump’s America First policy plan.

Under the garb of deglobalisation, protectionism has become a chief characteristic of the global world order, prioritising the interests of those it wishes to attend to. Thus, Trump has become utterly sensitive to the rise in unemployment in the country, due to which the lives and livelihood of ordinary Americans have been greatly affected. Trump attempted to correct it by limiting the participation of immigrants in some of the crucial American sectors and industries. The US was a one-stop destination for many young working Indian professionals, but now, due to restrictions on H1B1 visas, they surely will consider alternatives before choosing to settle in America as a fallout of this executive order passed by Trump.

However, Biden has ensured that he will rectify this decision once chosen for the top profile in the White House, appealing directly to the Indian diaspora who form a sizeable chunk of the American population at influential ranks or profiles. It was for this message that Biden posed his reliance on Kamala Harris as an alternative, benefiting and bettering his prospects against Trump by maintaining the competitive lead against him.

Trump has rallied against China for consolidating his sway amongst White Americans by being hard on China’s major policy proposals, banning a few Chinese mobile applications. After surveys began hinting at the possible resurgence of the Democrats in many swings and key states, people are said to be purposely agreeing to the thought of social welfare and liberalism proposed and propounded by Joe Biden — with a clear idea and impression of ameliorating the social, civil and cultural life of the American laity.

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamal Harris during a Democratic presidential debate in June 2019. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Biden, who was himself a Vice President during Obama’s presidency, knows fully about the potential of gender and racial issues in the American society, and how it acts up by being unjust and oppressive towards those these communities regards as inferior. The George Floyd episode exposed the fault lines and fissures of the American society in which Blacks have long been relegated to the margins where their rights are routinely abused and violated by the apparatus and agencies of the state. Thus, the Black Lives Matter campaign began to take momentum as Kamala Harris, through her broadcasts and campaigns for equality of opportunities and the dutiful rights of Black people, began to inspire a change in the approach and attitude towards people of colour.

She has intervened many a times for the economic and educational upliftment of Black people, encouraging a response from states by working closely with activists and academicians for meriting effective strategies. Being politically centrist, Harris has well adapted herself to the changes in the political environment. She does stand a great occasion and opportunity to illustrate her pioneering prowess for affecting a transition in society by inaugurating new spaces of affirmative actions and ideas.

Harris’ vice presidentship would simplify Biden’s responsibilities as he would then get the chance to engage and interrogate with actors who are shaping and structuring objectives and interests that are crucial from America’s point of view, pledging to honour the commitment of America’s founding fathers. Celebrating diversity counts as one and Kamala Harris has hit the reset button for a systematic and structural rejig, reforming the American society and its citizens in her chosen capacity.

Possibly, only when big-ticket Biden-Harris win with an arithmetic alliance suitably placing them on a high. Let’s pause and think for a while what would happen if the election result swings in their favour?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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