Nepali Americans today are active in politics, academia, the fashion industry, and much more. Nepali organizations, both on the local and national level, continue to be important for building community. Ethnically based organizations, such as the United Sherpa Society and the Nepa Pasa Pucha Amerikya (Newar based), enable these groups to practice their specific ethnic and cultural traditions.
Even though the group is relatively small, Nepali Americans are beginning to assert themselves in politics. Harry Bhandari (Democrat) made history in 2019 when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, becoming the first Nepalese American state legislator. His election was one of the most competitive in the state, as he defeated Republican incumbent Joe Cluster, former chair of the Maryland Republican Party. His priorities as a legislator include education and healthcare.
In 2022, Sarahana Shreshta (Democrat) won a New York State Assembly seat, making her the second Nepalese American state legislator and first Nepali American woman state legislator. Shreshta moved to the U.S. in 2001 from Kathmandu, becoming a citizen in 2019. According to her campaign website, she cares about advocating for working families, creating affordable housing, and fighting climate change.
Overall, many Nepalis are active in U.S. politics in different ways. From fighting back against the efforts by the Trump administration to end the temporary protected status program for immigrants impacted by disasters to advocating for the inclusion of caste as a protected category, Nepali Americans fight for what they believe in.
Additionally, as more Nepalis are immigrating to the United States, they are also bringing their food with them. Momos, a type of dumpling, is starting to become popular in the U.S. — the New York Times recently profiled a new momo restaurant in Queens and the Jackson Heights “momo crawl” challenge has blown up on TikTok. Momos can be found at food trucks and sit-down restaurants, and sometimes Indian restaurants owned by Nepali people will serve momos. If you get the chance, you should definitely try both momos and Nepali food in general!
There are many ways to engage with the Nepali American community. Look up Nepali restaurants in your area, or see if there are any events being held by Nepali American organizations that appeal to you. There are also Nepali American authors, singers, and artists whose work you can engage with. There are so many ways to interact with the community, and we hope you do!
Click on the images below to learn more about Nepali America today!