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Diya Lights Up the White House as President and Vice President Greet Indian Americans on Diwali

Diya Lights Up the White House as President and Vice President Greet Indian Americans on Diwali

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden joined millions of Indian Americans in celebrating Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, Nov. 4. The White House posted on social media a photo of the President and First Lady lighting the Diwali diva at the people’s house and greeting all those who celebrate saying, “May the light of Diwali remind us that from darkness there is knowledge, wisdom, and truth. From division, unity. From despair, hope. To Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists celebrating in America and around the world — from the People’s House to yours, happy Diwali.”

Vice President Kamala Devi Harris issued a statement saying, “This year Diwali arrives with even deeper meaning in the midst of a devastating pandemic. The holiday reminds us of our nation’s most sacred values, our gratitude for the love of family and friends, our responsibility to lend a hand to those in need and our strength to choose light over darkness, to seek knowledge and wisdom and to be a source of goodness and grace. Let’s remember to honor the light within one another. From our family to yours I wish you a joyous Diwali.”

From the other end of the executive branch, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also celebrated Diwali at the National Democratic Club, Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by Congressman Danny K. Davis of Chicago, on Nov 3. Pelosi lit the traditional diya as several prominent elected officials, including Congressman Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, joined the celebrations.

Meanwhile, three Democratic members of the House of Representatives — Carolyn Maloney and Gregory Meeks, both from New York, and Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois, —announced plans to introduce legislation, Deepavali Day Act, making the Indian festival a federal holiday.

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“The meaning of this legislation extends beyond honoring the significance of Diwali to the Indian-American community to acknowledging the contributions of Indian-Americans to our nation,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.

Rep. Maloney from New York’s 12th congressional district was the driving force behind the USPS issuance of a Diwali Commemorative Stamp in 2016. Needless to say, making Diwali a federal holiday is easier introducing legislation in Congress and than done. Its fruition will be a test of the lobbying power of the Indian American community in the years to come.

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