Several South Asian Americans Among Good Morning America’s Inspiration List
- Those named include AAPI leaders, celebrities, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, athletes, artists and activists who were nominated by their peers.
Several South Asian Americans are among Good Morning America’s Inspiration List to commemorate the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. GMA says the list “celebrates the contributions of one of the fastest-growing groups of people living in the U.S.” as “the community asserts its voice — speaking out and standing up as anti-Asian violence has spread amid the COVID-19 pandemic; defining itself on its own terms; and increasing awareness of their collective history and future” in the country. To compile the list, GMA and ABC News asked influential AAPI leaders, celebrities, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, athletes and more to nominate fellow members of the community.
Below are the South Asian Americans nominated to GMA Inspiration List:
Snehal Desai, artistic director of East West Players (EWP), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American theater company (nominated by Daniel Ho).
Gitanjali Rao, scientist and Time’s 2020 Kid of the Year (nominated by Catherine Chung)
LGBTQI+ activist Urooj Arshad, co-founder, Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, and senior program manager at Freedom House’s Dignity for All LGBTI Assistance Program,(nominated by Tanuja Desai Hidier)
Author, teacher and organizer Anjali Enjeti, co-founder of the Georgia chapter of They See Blue (nominated by Tanuja Desai Hidier)
Thenmozhi Soundararajan, dalit activist and executive director of Equality Labs (nominated by Tanuja Desai Hidier)
Civil rights leader and attorney Valarie Kaur (nominated by Tanuja Desai Hidier)
Visual artist, activist, architect and professor Kirin Makker (nominated by Sejal Shah)
Event planner Elizabeth Priya Kumar, founder and CEO of Premini Events, (nominated by Aarthi Sampath)
Geetika Agrawal, program director for La Cocina in San Francisco (nominated by Andrea Nguyen)
Alak Nanda of PODI Life (nominated by Sana Javeri Kadri)
Artist Jasjyot Singh Hans (nominated by Anuj Shrestha)
Shruti Rya Ganguly, an award-winning filmmaker and writer based in Oslo and New York City. (nominated by Yesh)
York-based Virtuoso, aka Gurtej Singh (nominated by Kanwer Singh, professionally known as Humble the Poet)
Archana Misra, founder of Product of Culture, a woman of color-founded and funded collective that amplifies brown brands and creatives with strategy, content and experiences rooted in culture. (nominated by Payal Kadakia)
Rebecca Parekh, co-founder and CEO of The Well, a collaboration of doctors and healers working together to create best-in-class wellness spaces, functional health products and original content to help people feel the best that they can. (nominated by Rohan Oza)
Musical artists Kiran and Nivi, twins who incorporate Indian classical music into their covers and original songs (nominated by Freida Pinto)
Samira Ahmed nominated the founders and team at The Salon, which was started in 2019 by Nik Dodani, Bash Naran and Vinny Chhibber. Ahmed says The Salon supports authentic creative development of South Asian American TV and film through community organizing and empowerment. And this year, The Salon leadership team, working with Reena Singh and Rishi Rajani, launched The Salon Mentorship Program to expand opportunities in TV and film for the next generation of South Asian American creatives.
Also nominated is Stop AAPI Hate, which been instrumental in bringing awareness to the rise in anti-Asian American and anti-Pacific Islander hate incidents since early 2020. The leaders of the group are Manjusha P. Kulkarni (executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council), Cynthia Choi (co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action) and Russell Jeung, Ph.D. (professor, Asian American Studies Department, San Francisco State University).