By Balbir Singh
Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb proclaimed the month of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at a function organized by the Asian American Alliance at the Indiana Statehouse on May 1.
The proclamation was handed over to Asian American Alliance President Rupal Thakkar Thanawala by Indiana Economic Development Corporation president Elaine E. Bedel. Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission Greg Wilson was also present at the event.
The proclamation reads: “according to the U.S. Census, the Asian population in Indiana has grown by 73 percent, representing 19 different countries across the Asian continent. The State of Indiana is fortunate to benefit from the contributions made by all Hoosiers of Asian heritage to make Indiana a place of rich cultural diversity and prosperity. We are eager to join in the events with Asian American Alliance Inc. and others throughout the entire country, celebrating the culture, traditions and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.”
Young-Hee Yedinak, K.P. Singh, Yige Li, Anita Hjorth Lerche, Glen Kwok Burmese American Community Institute Inc., Asian American Alliance, Inc. Tenthpin Management Consultants, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Gregory Wilson, Greg Ballard, Raymond Mark, Indianapolis Chinese Festival, Stan Jacobs, Nicole Martinez-LeGrand, Di Wang and Raju Chinthala attended the function.
Anita Hjorth Lerche wrote on Facebook, “Wonderful and inspiring kickoff celebration today in the State House of Indiana of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2019, which is taking place in May. Proud to be one of the board of directors of Asian American Alliance, Inc. Our President Rupal Thakkar Thanawala did an amazing job today. She received the official proclamation from Elaine E. Bedel.”
“It was wonderful to see such a nice turnout and a very informative presentation by Elaine Bedel. The AAAI meeting and governor’s proclamation at the Indiana Statehouse was a special moment for the Asian American community and our friends”, said renowned artist and interfaith community leader K.P. Singh.
Former AAAI president Young-Hee Yedinak wrote, “Great kickoff of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration with the official proclamation from Governor Eric Holcomb, warm greetings from Gregory Wilson and a wonderful conversation with Elaine Bedel. Kudos to Rupal Thanawala, Asian American Alliance, Inc., for organizing today’s event at the Statehouse.”
Asian American Alliance Board President Rupal Thanawala said that Asian American Alliance’s mission is to empower Asian Americans to lead and serve in business community.
“We have been focused on serving Asian Americans by integrating them in the community and be the face and voice of them across the state for over 19 years. We have made a sincere effort to keep it up and enhance the programs to accommodate the changing demands of our patrons.
“I am privileged to carry the baton that was passed on to me as a board president few years back. But we are not here alone; by no means is this the event of Asian American Alliance. We could not have done it by ourselves and we never wanted to do it, either. Look around in the rotunda and you will find your friends from India, China, Burma, Korea, Philippines, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Middle East and so on.
“We are here as a family and stand here on behalf of over 40 nationalities. If you look closely, you will find a teacher, servicemen, lawyer, artist, social worker, grocer, policemen (and) athlete. …. We are part of this beautiful fabric with vibrant colors.
“We recently did a research project and learnt that there are over 100 organizations across Indiana who are focused on Asian culture. Asian Americans have been an integral part of the Indiana community for at least a century, but the Asian American Pacific Islander is celebrated since 1992 across all the nation. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, Indiana Historical Society just unveiled an exhibit on Asian Americans which will be open ‘till July 27. I would highly recommend you visit.”