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A Turban-Wearing Sikh Was Just Elected Mayor in NJ for the First Time Ever

An Indian-American man who was called a terrorist during this year’s political campaign season was elected the first Sikh mayor in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Ravi Singh Bhalla, who wears a turban, overcame racially charged opposition fliers labeling him a terrorist that were distributed throughout the city in the weeks leading up to the election.

The leaflets featured Bhalla’s picture and the words “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our Town”, according to CBS News.

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Bhalla is Indian-American and was born in New Jersey. He’s also been an active member of the Hoboken community and a city council member. When he saw the anonymously produced fliers, he said on Twitter, “we won’t let hate win.”

Instead, Bhalla ran on a platform of issues that mattered to city residents: infrastructure, commuting, and open space, according to the report.

In his victory speech Tuesday night Bhalla acknowledged the difficulty of his campaign.

"Thank you for having faith in me, for having faith in our community, faith in our state, and faith in our country; this is what America is all about,” he said. "We've been through a bruising campaign... but now is the time we come together and see who we can work with to bring this city forward."

Read More: This Canadian Teen Is Taking a Stand Against Racism with a Ribbon Skirt and A Hashtag

Elections across the United States in Tuesday reaffirmed the United States’ identity as a democracy for people of all faiths, colors, genders, and identities. Many of the races saw women and minorities soar to victory after overcoming misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, and racist campaign rhetoric.

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