Washington, DC. On Thursday, July 31st, as Senator Barack Obama entered the Mayflower Hotel for a fundraiser organized by a coalition of Asian-American political groups, he was greeted by an extended ovation. In his twenty minutes of remarks, Obama dropped his usual stump speech and opted for a more focused talk on issues of particular interest to many Indian-Americans.
He promised health care initiatives geared toward Asian-American problems, endorsed federal support for minority-owned businesses, and promised to restore the White House Initiative on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. Obama even pronounced himself an "honorary AAPI," or Asian American and Pacific Islander. Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA-15) introduced Obama at the fundraiser noting that Obama's family includes Asian-Americans and that he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. "The son of an immigrant, raised among AAPI's in Hawaii, Barack Obama understands the struggles of immigrants searching for an identity in America," he said.
The audience was heavy with South Asian, Southeast Asian and East Asian Americans. The Indian-American community was well represented by several USINPAC members. "It is very encouraging to see so many members supporting this event today," said Seema Sharma, a USINPAC member. "It is great that Indian-Americans are taking an increasingly more active role in the presidential selection process." USINPAC members and staff in attendance included: TK Rao, Gisela Ghani, Surabhi Garg, Drew Kleinbrink, Aly Jiwani amongst others.
The US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the political voice of 2.5 million Indian-Americans. USINPAC provides bipartisan support to candidates for federal, state and local office who support the issues that are important to the Indian-American community. For more information, go to www.usinpac.com.