Vote Suraya: Sargis Sangari and Eric Esshaki running for U.S. Congress

UNITED STATES – U.S. voters will head to the polls on 3 November to vote for president and a host of state and local elections. This election cycle, two Suraye or Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians will be running for office as Republicans in their home districts*.

Eric Esshaki made it through the primaries and is running as a Republican Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Michigan’s 11th Congressional District. Michigan’s 11th Congressional District lies northwest of Detroit, comprising portions of northwestern Wayne and southwestern Oakland counties. His opponent is incumbent Democrat Haley Stevens.

Esshaki’s family is originally from Iraq, Suraya, and members of the Chaldean Catholic Church. The Detroit metropolitan area is home to roughly 150,000 Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians. There are Suraye communities in West Bloomfield, Warren, Farmington Hills, Troy, and Oak Park. The region is also home to ten Syriac Chaldean Catholic Churches, one Syriac Assyrian Church of the East, and one Syriac Catholic Church.

In Illinois’s 9th Congressional District, Syriac–Assyrian Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Sargis Sangari is running for election to the House of Representatives as a Republican. Democrat Jan Schakowsky has represented the district since 1999 and is up for reelection. Sangari lost the 2018 primary but won the 2020 primary to run against Schakowsky.

In August, Congresswoman Schakowsky issued a statement on the anniversary of the 1933 Simele Massacre – an atrocity committed by the Iraqi Army and allied Kurdish and Arab tribes in August 1933 which claimed the lives of as many as 6,000 Suraye from Nohadra (Duhok) and Mosul in Iraq.

The 9th Congressional District of Illinois covers parts of Cook County and the northern parts of Chicago. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there are some 35,000 Suraye in Illionis, mostly in Chicago, Niles, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, and Maine Park.

Sargis Sangari was born in Rezaiyeh (Urmia), Iran. He speaks Eastern Syriac, moved to the U.S. when he was a boy, served in the U.S. Army, and now lives in Skokie, Illinois. He is married and has 4 children: Ashur,  Nineveh, Atalia, and Sargon.

*This article is not an endorsement for the Republican Party. Nor does SyriacPress endorse the Democratic Party. President’s of both parties have had disastrous policy effects on the presence of Suraye (Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians) in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. In pre-invasion Iraq, there were between 1.4 and 1.6 million Suraye. Now, the upper estimates of the Suraye population in Iraq is 400,000 in a country of 38 million. With regards to Turkey, decades long NATO-backing for Turkey, its governments, and army allowed for denialist Turkish state policies against Syriacs, Armenians, and Greeks. In Turkey, the remaining number of Suroye, once estimated at 700,000, is about 25,000.