WASHINGTON, Jan 30: Describing the presence of a record five Indian-Americans in the US Congress as a “proud moment”, well-known Indian-American and philanthropist Frank Islam has called for redoubling efforts to politically empower the community that comprises just one per cent of America’s population.
“Having gained electoral success, we must not rest on laurels. We must redouble our efforts to maintain and increase our participation in the political process, starting with local politics,” he said at the 68th Republic Day celebration organised by the National Council of Asian Indian Associations (NCAIA).
Islam said the November 2016 elections brought great joy for him because of the substantial political gains made by the Indian-American candidates in the congressional elections.
“For the first time, we have an Indian-American senator in Senator Kamala Harris from California. Senator Harris is a rising star in American politics. She is a real talent. I am certain that you agree with me that she will scale many more heights now that she is on the national stage,” he said.
“We also saw Ami Bera from California returning to Washington for his third term, along with four new members: Ro Khanna from California, Washington State’s Pramila Jayapal and Illinois’ Raja Krishnamoorthi (and Harris),” he said.
“It was a proud moment for all of us when all these fantastic five members were sworn in as members of the US Congress. What it means is we, finally, have several seats at the table!” Islam said.
Addressing a gathering of several hundred people last night, Islam said it is critical for the minority community to be politically engaged not only as Indian-Americans but also as responsible citizens of this country.
“I firmly believe engaging in political activities create a common cause and a unified people,” he said.
“Political engagement is one form of civic engagement that we should invest ourselves in to make our society and this nation a better place. Political engagement is especially important because it can provide the lever for progress in other forms of engagement,” Islam said.
In her remarks, Deputy Indian Ambassador to the US Reenat Sandhu said Indian-Americans have played a significant role in deepening the India-US ties.
Jasse Singh, a supporter of US President Donald Trump, urged the community to support this fight against terrorism. The Indian-American community has a very important role to play in strengthening the bilateral ties, Singh added.
NCAIA chairman Suresh K Gupta said with the Republican administration in place, the Indian-American community is very eagerly looking forward to playing a most enterprising and constructive role in the resurgence of the US. (AGENCIES)