Nov 17, Michigan
The second annual Diwali celebration with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was virtual this year due to COVID-19. Last year, the Governor had invited several Michigan Indian community members to her residence to celebrate the largest Holiday for Hindus.
Fred Stella from the Interfaith Dialogue Association welcomed the invited guests numbering approximately 70 members from the community. Nasy Narayanaswamy of Bharatiya Temple, Troy delivered the invocation, appealing for peace and prosperity for all. Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist acknowledged the contributions made by the community and appreciated his friendship with several community members.
Governor Whitmer spoke at length about her appreciation for the friendship and goodwill demonstrated by the Indian community. She stated that Diwali will be celebrated every year by the Governor’s office. Governor recognized and acknowledged State representative Padma Kuppa and also newly elected representatives Shri Thanedar and Ranjeev Puri.
Governor Whitmer also encouraged the community members to apply for open board positions. The State is looking for talented individuals to serve in various positions. The Governor also expressed optimism that the Biden administration will ease visa/immigration restrictions affecting many of our community members.
State Representative Padma Kuppa appreciated the Governor for taking the time to engage with the community. MAPAAC commissioner Chandru Acharya delivered the closing remarks.
Governor Whitmer's personal outreach and her administration's welcoming approach to ethnic communities is like a breath of fresh air in a polarized political landscape. It will go a long way in building bridges and reducing inequities based on race, culture and gender.