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Breakthrough for Asian American Women in Two Cities

Preet Didbal
Preet Didbal

Sophia Vuelo has become the first Hmong judge in the state of Minnesota and just the third in the country.

In Yuba City near Sacramento, Preet Didbal will soon be the first Sikh woman to become mayor in the United States.

Didbal who is Indian American was appointed by the city council and will be sworn in Tuesday, reports KCRA. Sikhism is a religion that originated in the Pujab region of India.

“I’m speechless. I honestly am. It’s so humbling,” Didbal said to KCRA. “You talk about the American Dream. And here we are. My parents worked the fields, were labor workers — did the peaches, the prunes. I worked alongside with them — I have three sisters — and we all did. We worked in canneries, graveyard shifts. My parents worked very, very hard to give us the life that we have today. They traveled from India in 1968 and my dad made a statement. He said, ‘We travel to America to give our unborn a good life.’”

According to the Sacramento Bee, city council members rotate into the mayor and vice mayor positions every year based on vote count.

Sophia Vuelo
Sophia Vuelo

Her appointment follows the election of Ravi Bhalla as mayor of Hoboken, N.J. in November. Bhalla became the second Sikh mayor in the country despite racist flyers which were distributed to oppose his candidacy.

In Minnesota’s Second Judicial District,Vuelo will replace the retired Margaret M. Marrinan. Vuelo is a 1998 graduate of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota.

“I am honored and humbled to be given this opportunity by Governor Dayton to serve our State of Minnesota,” Vuelo said. “I hope to continue to my work in pursuing justice in our legal system,” she told the school.

Vuelo’s firm, Vuelo Law, handles juvenile protection, family, and criminal cases.
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