Indian Americans from across the country will gather in the US capital next week to celebrate the historic win of five Indian Americans to the Congress.
These include Ami Bera, who has been reelected for a third consecutive term, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal who have made their maiden entry into the US legislature.
In the Senate, they are joined by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris is the first Indian American to have entered the US Senate.
Several top Congressional leaders including Nancy Pelosi, the former House Speaker, Senator Tim Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential candidate, Senator Mark Warner and Republican Congressman George Holding have already confirmed their participation.
“We will honour the Indian-Americans recently elected to Congress as well as those appointed to senior positions in the incoming Presidential administration,” said M R Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley-based philanthropist and venture capitalist.
The two Indian Americans nominated in the incoming Trump administration including Nikki Haley, who is set to be the first Indian American cabinet-level appointee, have also been invited for the gala.
“We are one per cent of the population, and now we are one per cent of the Congress. So definitely, we have achieved a status commensurate with our size. But when we benchmark ourselves with Jewish Americans who are two per cent of the population, but they are 10 per cent of the Congress, we have a long way to go,” Rangaswami told PTI.
“Our role is to motive inspire Indian Americans all over the country to get engaged in the political process, to run for office. It’s time for Indian Americans to get really engaged in political and civic responsibilities,” he said.
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The event is also an effort to send the message that Indian Americans have achieved success “across the spectrum” and not just in some areas like science, medicines and academics.
In any profession, now one will find an Indian American, he added.
Proud of their Indian heritage, which the community has brought from India, including yoga, food, cooking and cultural values, Rangaswami said all this has added value to the American cultural milieu.
“The message is politics, how well we are doing now, we have to do more; we are breaking boundaries across professions and are doing well in multiple fields and not just in technology and medicine. And finally heritage is going to serve this country well, our values, our cooking, our art, everything,” he said.
“Indian Americans are now mainstream,” Rangaswami asserted, adding that the community is no longer an ethnic minority.