For Arun Nair, one memory stands out about his relocation to North Carolina. The year was 2011, 13 years after he’d moved to the United States, and he was working in Columbus, Ohio. He had just packed up his apartment to move to Charlotte to take a job with Wells Fargo when he received a call from family in India: His father had died.
Due to the timing, Nair was not able to make the long trip home. “As immigrants we have to endure a lot of things that other people don’t,” he says, the sorrow still evident in his voice. “We don’t have a lot of support.”
In Charlotte, Nair has now found that support. “Charlotte is the place where people accepted me,” he says. “It’s kind of like one big family for me. I don’t think I want to leave this place, ever.”
Charlotte is the place where people accepted me. It’s kind of like one big family for me. I don’t think I want to leave this place, ever.
Nair earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Madras, one of India’s most prestigious schools, and came to America for better career opportunities. He has attained success, earning an MBA from Franklin University, in Ohio, and becoming an assistant vice president at Wells Fargo. But what he found along the way, he says, is a community and a country that embraced him and motivated him to give back.
After helping with the campaign for City Council of Dimple Ajmera, the first Asian American ever elected to the council, Nair decided to volunteer himself. He is now a state executive committee member for the North Carolina Democratic Party; a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee; and vice chair of that committee’s Intercultural Relations Subcommittee. “I don’t think about running, it’s all about serving,” he says. “That’s what motivates me.”
Now a U.S. citizen, he wants to help ensure that all Americans have access to healthcare, a good education, and affordable housing.
“As a community we have to organize, to say that we may be of different races but we are all trying to improve our community and have a better America,” he says. “If you organize, you can achieve anything.”