Milpitas, CA (October 12, 2018) — On Sunday, September 30, an audience of nearly 300 attendees including Hindu American community and business leaders, interfaith partners, and elected officials joined the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) in celebrating 15 years of advocacy at its annual Silicon Valley Gala.
The Foundation’s signature event in California kicked off with an interactive social hour, featuring art exhibits by world-renowned artist Karthik Trivedi, whose artwork has adorned the White House and Buckingham Palace, and up and coming high school artist Chinmayi Shukla.
The formal program opened with a beautiful rendition of a famous Hindi bhajan (Hindu devotional song), Maili Chaadar, by UC Berkeley freshman and co-founder of Raaga^N, Geeta Shankar, and featured action-packed and inspiring dance performances by Mona Khan Company.
In addition to musical and dance performances, keynote speaker, Dr. Jeffery D. Long, enthralled the audience with a lively discussion on the Hindu themes interwoven in the iconic Star Wars movie series.
Other featured guest speakers included the Honorable Waytha Moorthy, Malaysian Senator and Minister for National Unity and Social Wellbeing, who traveled all the way from Malaysia, and Ohio State Representative Niraj Antani, the youngest elected official in the Ohio State House. Both speakers highlighted the important advocacy work of HAF.
They were joined by a number of government officials (and staff members), who similarly celebrated HAF’s advocacy work by presenting commendations, including:
- Bob Wieckowski, CA State Senate (10th Senate District)
- Steven Glazer, CA State Senate (7th Senate District) (sent a commendation)
- Bill Quirk, CA State Assemblymember (20th Assembly District)
- Kansen Chu, CA State Assemblymember (25th Assembly District) and Daisy Chu
- Angela Nguyen, Office of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (19th Congressional District)
- Stacie Shih, Office of CA State Assemblymember Ash Kalra (27th Assembly District)
- Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors (District 3) and Pattie Cortese, Board Vice President of the East Side Union High School District
- Marsha Grilli, Milpitas Vice Mayor
Throughout the evening, emcees Neha Shah, HAF NCal Chapter Volunteer and Stanford-based Rheumatologist, and Easan Katir, HAF CA Advocacy Director, engaged the audience while highlighting HAF’s work on critical issues affecting the region and nation from the California textbook initiative to training nearly 3,000 school teachers to major immigration campaigns and much more.
HAF also honored Garth Pickett, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Founding Member and Treasurer of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council with the 2018 HAF Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Pluralism and Yogi Chugh, community leader and Commissioner on the Fremont Economic Development Commission with the 2018 HAF Pride of the Community Award.
“This was an historic event for HAF in California given the diverse array of government, interfaith, and community leaders, as well as artists and entertainers in attendance supporting HAF’s mission of promoting dignity, mutual respect, and pluralism,” said Katir. “With the generous support of the community, the future is bright for Hindu American advocacy.”
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