Celebrating the Fab Five: My Night at the Indiaspora Gala

On Tuesday, January 3rd, I had the pleasure of ringing in the new year by attending the Indiaspora gala in Washington, D.C. Over 500 guests composed of political figures, local businesses, and members of the Indian diaspora rejoiced the recently elected Indian-Americans to Congress and senior positions within the Presidential Administration. The team who put together this affair, specifically the Director of Special Projects, Sanjeev Joshipura, ensured all of AIF’s staff and volunteers felt welcomed – as we commonly share the goal of bridging the gap between India and the U.S. In addition to our President and CEO, Alex Counts, our Washington D.C. Young Professionals attended in support.

AIF DC Young Professionals, Purvi Sarup, Sailaja Shri, Ritanch Hans, Lippi Doshi, and Shristi Kauffman
AIF DC Young Professionals, Purvi Sarup, Sailaja Shri, Ritanch Hans, Lippi Doshi, Shristi Kauffman
Senator Tim Kaine at the Indiaspora Gala
Senator Tim Kaine at the Indiaspora Gala

Being a Maryland native, I have always found it difficult how other parts of our nation are not as engaged in their local politics. In DC, politics are ingrained into each block of each building of each neighborhood. Similar to how celebrity gossip dictates conversations in Hollywood, one will see political debates in their local smoothie shop. That said, I was grateful to be invited to such an event where we are not only acknowledging our roots in India – but thanking our local peers in the U.S. for serving as change makers. The inner “poly sci” nerd in me could have not been more satisfied.

Dedicated to the five Indian Americans who were elected to the U.S. House and Senate during the 2016 election cycle, Representative Ami Bera, a Democrat from California joined newly members of the House, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, and Raja Krishnamoorthi. Among the many influential who spoke, it was a treat to hear remarks from Representative Nancy Pelosi, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Delegate Kumar Barve, Miss America Nina Davuluri, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal, Policy Director to First Lady Michelle Obama Krishanti Vignarajah, and Representative Joseph Crowley. In previous years, I have fond memories of working with Kumar Barve, Nancy Pelosi, and Nina Davuluri.

Photo Credit: Lippi Doshi
Representative Tulsi Gabbard at the Indiaspora Gala

As a first generation Indian American, I see the value in paying tribute to the many who are providing a voice to our communities. The beauty of democracies like the U.S. and India is that we are all presented the chance to make a difference. I commend those political figures taking action, and initiating the change we all hope to see in the future.

It was inspiring to be in a room filled with such ambition. I was left with a warm feeling when our President & CEO, Alex Counts suggested we promote the Indiaspora Gala. He shared the importance of partnering with like minded organizations – as we all share a common goal of creating social change in the US and India. This warmth continued through the night, as I took pride serving as an AIF Ambassador. Following the speeches and delicious catering, we all got to celebrate on the dance floor. The gala was successful in unifying the community with its new representation, provide networking to its guests, and incorporating interactive entertainment throughout the night.

Salitin Tavakoly & I

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