US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) as a bi-partisan organization has been the voice of Indian Americans for over a decade. They have collectively represented the strength of Indian Americans and the impact of USINPAC’s involvement has often made the difference. USINPAC has always supported deserving Indian American candidates and Congressman Ami Bera is one amongst them.
Talking of Dr. Ami Bera, he became only the third Congressman of Indian-origin in the 226-year history of the US House of Representatives, the other two being Bobby Jindal and Dalip Singh Saund. Son of Indian immigrants from Gujarat, the journey of Indian-American physician Ami Bera began when he was officially elected for the US House of Representatives in 2013. Bera, a representative of the Democratic Party defeated Republican incumbent Dan Lungren by 9,191 votes for the Seventh Congressional District in California. But the real feather in his cap was his appointment to two key congressional committees that would help him play a key role shaping America’s foreign and science policies. It was a great honor for the Indian American community to have one amongst them named to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Bera has become an example of inspiration for the young generation. His initiative ‘Coffee with your Congressman’ is very popular and during these sessions Ami and his staff spend time to know more about the issues faced by people- be it helping veterans receive backlogged VA benefits, assisting seniors with Social Security and Medicare or maybe help get a stalled passport, Ami tries his best to ensure that no voice goes unheard. During his twenty-year medical career, he has worked day in and day out to improve the availability, quality, and affordability of healthcare. In Congress he uses the skills he learned as a service provider to listen to people and to put their interests first. As an Indian American, he has always been eager to visit India and on his last trip to India – his first since taking office, Bera helped facilitate an agreement between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the University of California Davis Postharvest Technology Center to collaborate on postharvest technology to reduce food losses due to spoilage. With so much credibility attached to his work, supporting his re election in the upcoming elections is a decision which would provide the Indian American community the required impetus and USINPAC is doing just that by supporting deserving Indian Americans.
Not just Ami Bera, USINPAC has in the past supported various candidates like Latha Mangipudi, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Kamala Harris, Swati Dandekar and many other deserving Indian Americans who have gone on to become success stories in themselves. Not just that, USINPAC has constantly worked on various issues that are important for the Indian American community. Their approach of providing bipartisan support to candidates for federal, state and local office who support the issues that are important to the Indian American community is what differentiates USINPAC. So, it’s your turn now. Join USINPAC! Get involved!
Ever since Satya Nadella became only the third chief executive of Microsoft, the Indian community in Silicon Valley has been bubbling over with pride and going hoarse cheering over the elevation of an Indian to the top of the fourth-largest company in the world by market capitalization. That his appointment would generate such excitement and frenzy might seem surprising at first. After all, Indians have over the years become a force in Silicon Valley, where about 15% of tech start-ups have Indian founders. Yet Nadella’s appointment is being hailed by Indians as something more. It’s another giant leap forward to have their own running one of the world’s most important companies. And he’ll be stepping into the shoes of Bill Gates, one of the world’s most famous names, to run a company for which Indians have a special affection.
But the most important question to ask is if there is anything to learn from the rise of that man called Satya Nadella?
Let’s face it; Microsoft is full of brainy graduates who are alumnus of India’s premier institutions besides graduates of the best schools of many other countries. Yet, it was Nadella, from a relatively humble Manipal Institute of Technology, who has been chosen to lead Microsoft at a crucial time. Not that his engineering skills were ever in doubt, rather it is his non-engineering talents which have helped him pole vault over droves of other talented nerds.
Tracing his story, young Satya, was an all-rounder at school. He played a lot of cricket, played pranks, loved music, was a champion debater and a good student, but not at the top of his class. But then, technical knowledge has always been his forte – Nadella has made Microsoft pose serious competition to Amazon’s cloud with its cloud platform Azure, ever since he started heading the cloud platform of the Company in 2013. The Azure cloud platform supports the services of Microsoft such as Bing, Xbox live, Office 365 and Windows Azure. Nadella led Microsoft’s server and tools division prior to his stint with cloud and engineering enterprise. So the journey of his life at Microsoft just goes to show that the stereotype of the hardworking Indian American has evolved and they are the ones ushering in a new voice. They are everywhere-as rappers, musicians, sportsmen and politicians. As a group, Indian Americans comprise the wealthiest and most educated single community in the U.S., a position of societal prestige that may last for some time yet — a recent survey found that no ethnic group in the U.S. saves more for their children’s college education than Indian Americans do. So a success story like Satya Nadella is definitely not a bolt from the blue but nevertheless, it is an inspiration.
He truly believes in Microsoft’s power to bring in change – In his first E Mail to the employees he reiterates “for the same reason I think most people join Microsoft – to change the world through technology that empowers people to do amazing things. “Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance.”
I would like to end Satya’s story with a quote from Oscar Wilde which truly inspires us to believe that success does not have a religion, nationality or color. “We need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable”.
This year, we witnessed the emergence and political victories of many Indian-American leaders in the current American political scene. They have emerged leaders from diverse educational and professional backgrounds although with something in common: the urge and the mission to serve the community at large. This blog post highlights the achievements of some of these leaders who have consistently made an impact to their multi-cultural communities in the U.S. These leaders also reveal an insight into their commitments in their chosen disciplines. Sapana S. Shah won a berth in the Edison Municipal Council of New Jersey. She has been has been working with the Edison Board of Education since 2011. The young attorney at law specializes in litigation matters relating to personal injury, municipal court matters, criminal matters, employment discrimination, business & commercial litigation, and family law.
This year, Raj Mukherji, a former Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey won the State Assembly elections to New Jersey’s 33rd Legislative District. He was part of the American military intelligence after he enlisted in the Marines post the 9/11 attacks; he is known for his philanthropic activities too. He attended the University of Pennsylvania from where he earned a Master’s degree. He now joins the state assembly post with fellow Indian American Upendra Chivukula in New Jersey.
Upendra Chivukula is the first South-Asian American in the 120-member state legislature and he is also the highest ranking South-Asian elected to office in New Jersey. He has been a member of the New Jersey state assembly since 2002. He is the first Indian-American to be elected to the New Jersey General Assembly and the fourth Indian-American to be elected to the state office. He has also been a recipient of awards including New Jersey Technology Council’s Legislative Advocate for Technology Award, NJ Small Business Development Centers’ Legislative Award, induction into the High-Tech Hall of Fame, New Jersey Policy Research Organization’s – Leader of Innovation, NJ Small Business Development Centers’ Legislator of the Year Award, NAACP Edison/Metuchen Branch – Adam Clayton Powell Award, and the ADL – Americanism Award.
This November, Latha Mangipudi won the special elections for State Representative in Hillsborough District 35 in New Hampshire by a margin of 59%-41%. She is a trained Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) by profession and she is known for her role in the field of education at Nashua, where she resides with her family. She also works with people with special needs and she is member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Town Councilman, entrepreneur, and business development executive Steve Rao emerged winner in the Morrisville City Council election in North Carolina this year. He is now the only Indian-American in the Council and was the only incumbent to return to office.
USINPAC New Hampshire (NH) Chapter Chairperson Latha Mangipudi has won the Special Elections for State Representative in Hillsborough District 35 in New Hampshire by a wide margin of 59% – 41%. She came to the U.S as a first-generation immigrant from India to study and later work here. Prior to her arrival in the States, she had received a Master’s degree in Speech and Hearing from the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing. Her interaction and exposure to the various communities shaped her understanding and commitment of working for the community. She aims to involve herself further in educating children, serving seniors, and helping the community at large. She lives with her family in Nashua. Today, she is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing association (ASHA).
Latha Mangipudi has worked as a trained Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for more than twenty five years. She started her career at the Fernald State School in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she provided therapy services. After moving to New Hampshire, she worked at the Southern NH Hospital. She has also worked with the Nashua Center for the Multiply Handicapped (NCMH) and Interim Health Care. She has been a member of several councils including The Nashua Interfaith, Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Charitable Trust, and Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Mental Health Association. As an educator, she has served on the Board of Education in Nashua. Among other activities, she has served as volunteer coordinator of Chinmaya Maruti and the New Hampshire Chairperson of Akshaya Patra.
Latha Mangipudi has served as the Chairperson of the USINPAC New Hampshire Chapter. She has been very active in encouraging and educating the Indian-American community to involve them in political advocacy. She has also hosted and organized several USINPAC events including Congressional and Presidential get-togethers and meetings to establish working relationships with senators, congressmen, and the White House.
AAPI-Tulsa Chapter has been in the forefront of organizing health educational walkathons through it’s sub-committee Walk World Walkathon Organization.
At the first WWW on 11-11-11 they promoted walking as the easiest way to exercise, and recycling for “Go Green World”. Countries from five continents participated in this walkathon.
At the second WWW on May 12, 2012 they promoted awareness of Hands Only CPR (CPR without mouth to mouth breaths).
At the third WWW on 12-12-12, they promoted childhood obesity awareness to help fight this national and global epidemic.
At the fourth WWW on Dec 16, 2012, they promoted “Unity in Diversity” and had friends from more than 30 different countries hold their national flags to indicate that childhood obesity affects everyone globally and that we are in this fight together.
On April 6, 2013, they organized the first ever school walkathon for childhood obesity awareness in Penn Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and educated the students, teachers and parents on how to tackle this epidemic. This is the first time that AAPI physicians got directly involved with their local communities and schools for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
National AAPI is now helping to do similar events in schools and communities across USA with the tag line Be Fit-Be Cool.
At these events they are promoting “Let’s Move” initiative, especially the ChooseMyPlate and Presidential Active Lifestyle Award efforts. Also the 5-2-1-0 concept developed by the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to fight this growing problem of obesity.
5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
2 hours or less of recreational screen time
1 hour or more of physical activity
0 sugary drinks. More water and low fat milk
Recently, Oklahoma Governor has proclaimed September Childhood Obesity Awareness month, urging individuals to show their support for this issue by wearing yellow. Yellow represents energy, motivation, pleasure, liveliness and optimism to help individuals lead healthy lifestyles. Sunshine yellow was chosen as sunshine is energizing like exercise that is being promoted to fight childhood obesity.
Presently, AAPI-Tulsa Chapter is trying to get President Obama to make a similar proclamation of Wear Yellow for obesity / childhood obesity awareness to promote healthy living. They developed a “50 States US flag” with the 50 State’s flags in an alphabetical order around the US stars & stripes flag to indicate our fight against childhood obesity in all 50 states.
We believe that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ when tackling this childhood obesity problem.
Uma Koduri, M.D., is Chair of National AAPI – Childhood Obesity Committee, Founder of Walk World Walkathon Organization and Founder and Past President of Tulsa chapter of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.