A newly formed public affairs committee in the US has launched a nationwide awareness campaign to highlight how Indian-Americans have been an intrinsic part of the American fabric as part of efforts to prevent hate crimes against the community.
“There is a need to bring understanding about the people of Indian-origin and represent their interests,” said Ashwani Dhall, one of the founding members of Indian-American Public Affairs Committee (IAPAC) which was recently formed in Chicago by four eminent Indian-Americans from across the country.
Through a series of grassroots events and town halls in cities across the country, IAPAC will ask different cities and state governments to announce Indian-American awareness month.
The purpose is to spread the word about how Indian-Americans have been an intrinsic part of the American fabric for more than 100 years, a statement said.
As part of the campaign, events are being organised in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.
“By bringing together elected officials, local and business leaders and the media, the aim is to assure the Indian-American community that incidents like the hate-crime in Kansas City are not tolerated or repeated,” the statement said.
Through these events IAPAC also wants to ensure that correct information about any existing policies is disseminated to people and there is no room left for rumours, it said.
“It was heartening to hear (President Donald) Trump denounce the Kansas City incident right at the start of his address to the Congress,” said Vinesh Virani, president of IAPAC.
“We have hope that the current administration will work to bring everyone together,” he said.
Virani said IAPAC is a grassroots organisation formed to keep the Indian-Americans engaged in the local, political and social issues.
“We are a group of people of Indian-origin who are doctors, small business owners, hoteliers, IT professionals, executives, essentially people from all fields, who had been closely involved in the local politics during last year’s general elections,” he said.
“We were instrumental in encouraging Indian-Americans all over the country to participate in the political process. Instead of waiting for the next elections, we decided to come together and continue to engage the Indian American community,” Virani said.
IAPAC said it is a bipartisan and grassroots organisation of Indian-Americans to advocate and safeguard the India-US relationship and the interests of Indian-Americans.