HomeAAPI Heritage MonthKamala Harris headlines Indian American summit

Kamala Harris headlines Indian American summit

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at the Indian American Impact Project’s ‘Dream with Ambition’ summit in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. She called attendees to “continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible,” according to American Bazaar.

Harris is the first Indian American Vice President of the United States. According to American Bazaar, in addition to Harris, all four Indian American House representatives–Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Ami Bera (D-CA)–attended, as well as numerous celebrities, philanthropists, and organizers.

Harris’s pre-recorded speech was played on May 18. Speaking of her mother, an Indian immigrant, Harris recalled, “She raised my sister and me to believe that we could be anything and do anything, if we set our minds to it.”

Her mother’s work on cancer research left a deep impression on her.

“She taught us to ‘Dream with Ambition,’ and so many of you gathered here today have something special in common,” Harris said, according to American Bazaar. “You see what can be unburdened by what has been.”

Harris praised the South Asian community for its political engagement.

“Every day, in communities across our nation, you are advancing equality, opportunity and justice. You are inspiring the next generation of leaders, and in particular the next generation of South Asian leaders,” she said, according to News India Times.

“Today, my message to you is this–let us always remember, what brought us to this moment and continue to dream with ambition, continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible. Because you, and we all, are standing on the shoulders of so many who came before and living their dreams,” she continued. “Our nation is counting on you, on Impact, and all of us to lead us forward.”

The week-long event was a first of its kind. It was intended to mobilize the South Asian community and celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, as per a press release from Indian American Impact. There were several policy sessions, focused on the climate crisis, civil rights, educational equity, healthcare access, South Asian women and youth leaders, and more, reports The Quint. The summit may help to politically galvanize the largest growing voting bloc in the country–South Asians–and will raise awareness on how to join the political system.

According to News India Times, the organization’s executive director, Neil Makhija, said, “Historically, South Asians have been overlooked, underestimated, and underrepresented politically.”

“But after witnessing so many community members and future leaders come together this week, it is clear that is a thing of the past,” he contended. “It is crucial for us to empower young South Asians to mobilize their friends and families to get involved in the political process.”

He concluded, “Countless voices this week proved that our community is stronger when we collaborate and celebrate our intersectionality. It’s incredibly encouraging to imagine the possibilities for our collective futures.”

A Congressman in attendance, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, tweeted about the event.

“Thank you to the Indian American Impact Project for inviting me to take part in their panel discussion on the importance of representation and public service, as well as the pressing issues that our country faces today,” he wrote.

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