Three leaders from the Indian American community took the stage before the 4,765 national delegates and the national media as the Democratic Party Convention turned the spotlight on the community, recognising its rising role.
The president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Neera Tanden, made an impassioned speech on Wednesday in support of the party candidate for president Hillary Clinton, declaring: “Hillary will always have our backing.”
She spoke candidly of her family’s travails after her father divorced her mother when she was five and how the public safety net saved them and helped her eventually get an Ivy League law degree and to become Hillary Clinton’s adviser and play important roles in her campaigns.
Congressman Ami Bera of California was presented as a leader reflecting the diversity of the Democratic Party in Congress.
Raja Krishnamoorthi, who is running for Congress from Illinois, came on stage as a “New Leader of Tomorrow.” He told IANS about the moment in the party limelight: “I am thrilled.”
If elected, Krishnamoorthi will be the fourth Indian American to serve in the House of Representatives.
Congresswoman Grace Meng, the head of an influential Asian American political action committee, called at the Convention for supporting Krishnamoorthi and said the presence of the Asians in Congress would grow with his election.
Krishnamoorthi, a lawyer and a technology and environmental entrepreneur, joked that he probably had a “mutant gene” that made him turn to politics in a community that focuses on careers in medicine, technology and education.
He said his family was in “dire economic straits” and had a difficult time when he was a baby, but the “generosity” of the United States helped them come out of it.
“Ever since then, I have been wanting to make sure that others have a shot at the American dream” like his family, he said.