Seen at the White House reception (l-r): Rohini Chopra, Dr. Balvinder Kaur, Aneesh Chopra and Dr. Rajwant Singh.
Posted on June 17, 2013
President Barack Obama praised the role of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders in building America at a May 29 White House reception attended by many high profile AAPI community leaders from around the United states.
Among the attendees were Dr. Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, and Aneesh Chopra, candidate for Lt. Governor of Virginia.
Obama acknowledged Chandigarh-born Srikanth Srinivasan, who recently created history by becoming the first South Asian as a top federal judge, as one of his “favorite” persons, after he had been confirmed by the Senate as a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, considered as the top court of the country after the Supreme Court.
Obama fondly remembered learning Indian cooking. “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,” he said.
“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.”
While thanking Obama for acknowledging the contributions of Asian Americans, Singh said that 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.”
Other Indian American guests included Toby Chaudhuri; Adil Kabani, a White House economic policy advisor; Dipankar Mukherjee, a theater artist from Minnesota; Miran Kaur, of the Kaur Foundation; and Ameeta K. Vohra from Baltimore, Md.
Obama also singled out musician, producer and composer Karsh Kale, who was invited by the White House along with others for a performance on the occasion.
The president also highlighted the need to overhaul the nation’s immigration system while respecting the history of Asians who’ve helped build and defend the United States.
“In order to keep our edge and stay ahead in the global race, we need to figure out a way to fix our broken immigration system — to welcome that infusion of newness, while still maintaining the enduring strength of our laws,” he said. “And the service and the leadership of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have proved that point time and again.”