Indira Duggirala is most proud of her work with South Asian Democrats. She started and built a political organization for South Asians in Colorado where people felt safe to engage in dialogue, action and community building.
Through grassroots outreach work with South Asian Democrats, they partnered with groups in Aurora to bring COVID-19 vaccinations to the marginalized South Asian communities, conducted various community forums for non-partisan, local and state wide elections across Colorado.
She said: “For the last few years, my focus has been on partnering and building relationships with community groups to empower the Asian community in Colorado to not only stand against racism and xenophobia but to fortify future generations with sustainable and strong political presence.”
The 2016 presidential elections and subsequent rise in hate crimes in her neighborhood and the country compelled her to get politically engaged.
“I was trying to bring awareness to xenophobic targeting of small businesses in my area during the pandemic when a friend introduced me to the They See Blue Colorado Chapter,” she said.
They See Blue is a grassroots organization focused on engaging South Asians in elections for the Democratic Party. Duggirala worked with a group of highly motivated South Asian volunteers to phonebank the 22,000 South Asians in Colorado.
“It is by far one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life being able to gain immediate trust by connecting with people using language, traditions and customs,” said Duggirala.
“Many of us had profound experiences with this community building when people trusting they won’t be taken advantage of or their struggles gaslighted. The immense gratitude for building a safe space to have dialogue floored us.”
As a student, Duggirala worked at a community food bank and often volunteered at the Women Infant and Children (WIC) clinic, where she learned how hard it is to get out poverty, and how social programs and government aide could give a period of recuperation to recover from their situations.
Alyssa Nilemo, Executive Director of Asian Chamber Foundation of Colorado said: “Indira was just elected as the First Vice Chair to the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP). Historically positions like this go to Caucasian males. She is helping break the bamboo ceiling for Asians, especially AAPI women! She will now be able to help raise the AAPI communities needs up to the state party and beyond.”
As the First Vice Chair of CDP, Duggirala will help the chair continue to build and strengthen the Colorado Democratic Party.
“I am looking forward to bringing my community building experience to create an environment for engagement for all people of Colorado,” she said. “I am hoping to build this environment with equitable practices for minoritized and marginalized communities - by listening, connecting and building trust with our voters.”
She notes that her identity is very empowering to her. “My Indian heritage, values, culture and politics are all strengths that I am able to weave into my life as an American citizen” she said.
She and her husband Ravi have lived in Colorado for over 20 years. They reside in Highlands Ranch. Their daughter Eswari graduated from University of Colorado Boulder with degrees in Psychology and Ethnic Science and their son Navya is a sophomore at the School of Arts and Architecture in University of California, Los Angeles.
“Parenting two children has been the most rewarding and significant part of my life,” she said.