First for Texas Legislature: Representatives Lalani & Bhojani

Texas Representative Dr. Suleman Lalani with his family at the Texas State Capitol.

AUSTIN: History was made in the Lone Star state last week, Tuesday, the 10th of January, when the 88th Legislature of the Texas House of Representatives held their oath ceremonies for members recently elected for their two-year terms. The Texas House is composed of 150 members and the state legislature meets in regular session for about five months every other year.

The richness of representation and electoral diversity was showcased in the official swearing in ceremonies of Rep. Salman Bhojani and Rep. (Dr.) Suleiman Lalani, both of whom are Democrats and the firsts in many categories. They are the first South Asian Americans and the first Muslim-Americans and Pakistani-Americans in the Texas House.  Rep. Bhojani is also the first person of color to represent House District 92 (Dallas-Fort Worth area). With his wife Nima and children by his side, Bhojani was sworn in on the first English copy of the Qur’an ever printed in the Americas (printed in 1806 in Springfield, Massachusetts). Dr. Lalani of Sugar Land is the first South Asian elected from the Houston area (House District 76) to the Texas House.

Salman Bhojani’s wife, Nima, holds the Quran as he is sworn into the Texas legislature.

He was sworn in on a 382-year-old Qur’an owned by Sada Cumber, a prominent entrepreneur and foreign policy expert in the South Asian American community. Accompanied by his wife Zakia, his children, and other family members and friends, over 500 people from Dr. Lalani’s district attended in order to celebrate his swearing in by singing and dancing outside of the Capitol. It was a great moment for AAPI, South Asian and immigrant Texans across the state who swelled with pride at the momentous achievements of these two elected officials – now the real work begins!