Indian-American community holds inaugural ball for Obama
Washington: Indian-Americans here held their first-ever inaugural ball to celebrate US President Barack Obama`s second term in office ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, signaling the coming of age of the three million- plus community in the country.
"Indian-Americans are tremendously important and we hope they would be increasingly visible not only in the government, but also in all parts of American life," Maya Kassandra Soetoro-Ng, the second half-sister of Obama, said, adding that the President was very proud of the Indian-Americans.
"It is certainly a reflection of how important India is and how important Indian-Americans are to the fabric of the nation. I would just like to celebrate all of the contribution artistic, political and so much more of the Indian-American community," Maya told reporters on her way to the red carpet welcome of the first-ever Indian-American inaugural ball.
The event was organised by Indiaspora -- a recently formed organisation which aims to be a catalyst to transform the success of Indian-Americans into meaningful impact in India and on the global stage.
"It is time we come to recognise fully the contribution of the Indian-American community here," Maya said, reflecting the views of US President Barack Obama who has the distinction of appointing the largest number of Indian-Americans in any presidential administration ever.
"It is very exciting to serve in an Administration that has so many great Indian-Americans serving," said Raj Shah, Administrator of USIAD, the highest ranking Indian-American in the Obama Administration.
Not only members of the community serving in the Obama Administration attended the inaugural ball, in addition to the who`s who of the community from across the nation, but the event was also marked by the presence of a large number of Congressmen, and several Governors (from both the Republican and Democratic parties), reflecting the importance they attach to the emergence of this small but powerful community.
"I think it is wonderful for the Indian-American community. It is coming of age, politically for them. This is not just a ball. This is a massive gala," said Congressman Joe Crowley, Co-Chair of the Congressional India Caucus, referring to the hundreds of Indian-Americans who had gathered at the inaugural ball of the community.
"There are not many ball or gala this weekend that would rival this one I believe. So this speaks volume to the political advancement of the Indian-American community," he said.
"My hope is to continue the important work," Republican Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee, said.
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