- A GOPIO-led delegation met the mayor and his top officials to discuss issues affecting the community and ways in which it could be involved.
Representatives from several Indian American community organizations in New York City, including the Global Organization for People of Indian Origin or GOPIO, met with Mayor Eric Adams to discuss issues affecting the community and ways in which it could be involved in the city. The need for this dialogue began with GOPIO’s condemnation of the defacing of the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Union Square Park in February. At the time the group requested Mayor Adams to increase police presence in the park area as well as to apprehend and punish the culprit, according to a GOPIO press release. During the meeting, Adams lauded Indian Americans for their contributions to making New York an exciting city to live.
Before meeting with the mayor, the delegation met with the mayor’s chief advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin and deputy mayor Meera Joshi. The Indian delegation was headed by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham along with GOPIO-Manhattan Executive Vice President Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Vice President Dr. Vimal Goyle and Treasurer Braj Aggarwal as well as GOPIO-New York Chapter Hon. Chair Lal Motwani and President Beena Kothari. Other community representatives included Association of Indians in America (AIA) President Gobind Munjal; Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Executive Director Sudhir Vaishnav; Bhakti Center Program Coordinator Kartikeya Parashar; Society of Indian American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA) President Ketan Shah; BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir National Coordinator for Public Affairs Girish Patel; President of India Home and Indo-American Senior Citizen Center of New York The delegation was headed by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham along with GOPIO-Manhattan Executive VP Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, VP Dr. Vimal Goyle and Treasurer Braj Aggarwal as well as GOPIO-New York Chapter Hon. Chair Lal Motwani and President Beena Kothari. Other community representatives were Association of Indians in America (AIA) President Gobind Munjal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Executive Director Sudhir Vaishnav, Bhakti Center Program Coordinator Kartikeya Parashar, Society of Indian American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA) President Ketan Shah, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir National Coordinator for Public Affairs Girish Patel and Mukund Mehta, President of India Home and Indo-American Senior Citizen Center of New York..
At the beginning of the meeting, Abraham thanked Adams for appointing many Indian Americans in high positions of the city administration. In addition to the issue of defacing the Mahatma Gandhi statue, many other issues were discussed at this power meeting. The community representatives urged the mayor to keep the status quo on gifted and talented classes for elementary classes, to advance further in pursuit of knowledge and to achieve their full academic potential. Other issues discussed include discrimination, civil rights violations and violence against religious institutions in New York City. Chief Advisor Lewis Martin suggested setting up a committee to work closely with the NYPD on some of these issues. Those nominated to work on these issues are Girish Patel was nominated to coordinate the efforts along with Braj Aggarwal, Lal Motwani, and Beena Kothari.
Another significant part of the discussion was on how to bring businesses to New York City, vis-à-vis New York businesses setting up business in India. The delegation told city officials that many Indian companies are setting up business outfits in the U.S. and that Indian Americans in New York City could serve as conduits to reach out to businesses in India. It was suggested that whenever trade and business delegations come to New York, the city’s International Affairs Department must reach out and hold meetings with them. A Business Promotion Committee headed by Dr. Abraham was nominated along with Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Sudhir Vaishnav, Mukund Mehta, Ketan Shah and Karthikeya Parashar.
The delegation also suggested that city officials continue with Diwali celebration and hold a special celebration from the City for the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence to honor the largest democracy of the world.