WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama praised the role of the Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in building America at a White House reception to mark Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month on Tuesday.
Obama said, “We are here today to honor the incredibly rich heritage and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. And there’s no better example of that diversity than the people who are in this room. We’ve got members of Congress; we’ve got members of my administration; we’ve got lots of special guests and talented performers.’’
Toasting the nomination of Chandigarh-born Srikanth Srinivasan to the Court of Appeals in Washington DC, Obama said, “One of my favorite people right now (is), Sri Srinivasan, who has just been confirmed.’’
Obama fondly remembered learning Indian cooking during his college days. “I can think back on my college years when my roommates were Indian and Pakistanis, which is how I learned how to cook keema and dal,” the president said amid laughter.
“But it’s more than food and family — because generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders helped build this country, and helped to defend this country, and to make America what it is today. It’s a history that speaks to the promise of our nation — one that welcomes the contributions of all people, no matter their color or their beliefs, because we draw from the rich traditions of everybody who calls America home. “E pluribus unum” — out of many, one.”
Thanking the President for acknowledging the contribution of Asian-Americans, Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, said, “President Obama’s administration has deliberately increased the presence of Asian-Americans in the government and certainly increased the visibility of children of those immigrants who have given so much to this nation.’’ He said, “Sikh community has been part of the United States since the late 1800s and we are proud of our community’s contribution in building this nation.”
Other prominent Indian American guests at the White included Aneesh Chopra, candidate for Lt. Governor of Virginia, Toby Chaudhuri, Adil Kabani, a White House Economic Policy Advisor, Dipankar Mukherjee, a theater artist from MN, Miran Kaur of Kaur Foundation and Ameeta K. Vohra from Baltimore.
(Compiled from SCOPE release)