The year 2020 will forever be etched in our minds as the most challenging year for humanity in recent memory. The whole world sees 2021 as a year of hope emerging from the misery and fear inflicted by the 2020 pandemic.
Reflecting on 2020
A great start…
The year kicked off with a several exciting New Year parties around the metro Detroit area. Pongal and Sankranti celebrations in January were enthusiastic and so was Valentines Day in February.
In March, Bollywood star Salman Khan’s mega event in Detroit was announced (April 5th) and the organizers started selling tickets. Holi celebrations and hope of Spring brought smiles on many faces. DIWA and miindia.com hosted the Women of Wisdom “WOW” event on March 8th attracting hundreds of visitors.
Coronavirus warning flares lit up the internet and all communications channels during the second week of March. State of Michigan started announcing shutdowns and restrictions while hospital ER traffic was overwhelming. Hope of a quick recovery turned into despair for many. Most offices made remote working mandatory. Grocery stores were running out of their inventory due to panic buying. Indian grocery stores could not keep up with the demand.
As the health crisis escalated some organizations started delivering food to front line health care workers. With support and contributions from individuals and Indian community organizations, Miindia.com and SAAVI led the effort to deliver over 3,260 meals for health care heroes. Donors and recipients were recognized on a special page created. With support from DIWA , AMMA Center , IGGF and Bala Gokulam, over a thousand care packages were delivered to needy in Inkster and Detroit. Meals were registered to first responders like Police and Fire department personnel as well. Many organizations made masks for charity. Several organizations including DIWA, India League of America, MI Tamil Sangam, MiBihar, MIADC, Michigan Indian Community Service, MAPI, Palav, Detroit Telugu Association, Kerala Club, Detroit Telangana Community, Detroit Malayalee Association, Telangana Development Forum, Vattikuti Foundation, Taj Cottage, Troy Telugu Association, Balaji Temple, Shirdi Sai Temple, Bichitra, Shirdi Sai Trust, India League of America, UP Association of Detroit, Abhi Shah Foundation, Kyyba Kids Foundation, Bellis Foundation, Maharashtra Mandal, AIWA and several student-led organizations pitched in to help. We salute several Indian-owned corporations that pitched in to help. The Michigan Indian community really stepped up to the plate and delivered incredible community service.
Miindia.com provided real time updates on various safety matters and Government restrictions on International travel. Our blog page was updated almost daily. Also, a special COVID-19 page was also created with regular updates. Miindia.com also published talent videos created by kids to help keep our spirits up.
Temples, Churches, Gurudwaras, Mosques, restaurants and halls shut down. Virtual events became the norm during the Summer months. The infection rate in Michigan was one of the highest in the country. Some relief was in sight with restaurants reopening and temples offering limited service in the summer. Many wedding celebrations were curtailed or just postponed to a later data. As things started getting bad in India, flights were cancelled. Kids switched to online learning. Our community members were disciplined in wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Yet many got infected while sadly some succumbed. Thousands of Michigan Indian community members served as frontline health care workers in combating the pandemic. Kudos to each of them!
To make matters worse, the Midland floods devastated more lives. A dedicated group of students with support from Miindia Foundation pitched in to help.
The presidential election of 2020 was the other dominant news on all media. Our community members were more engaged in this election than ever before. Successful candidates included State Representatives Padma Kuppa, Shri Thanedar and Ranjeev Puri. Tania Ganguly won the Canton Trustee election. Congratulations winners! CHIPS delivered a special message. Miindia.com published several blog posts to boost engagement.
Loss of lives…
Unfortunately, we lost some beloved community leaders in 2020. Arun Upadhyay, Bharat Sanghvi, Chain Singh Sandhu, Subhash Vyas, Tom Patel, Joseph Mathew, N. Madhavan, Anil Shah and others will be missed by us all. We salute these pioneers that did their part to build our community. We also lost a few young professionals due to cardiac related illnesses. Our prayers are with the friends and families of these departed souls.
Hope for relief…
Diwali, Christmas, Ramadan, Gurupurab, India Independence Day and other celebrations were subdued this year. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer took time off her busy schedule to virtually celebrate Diwali with community members. Governor Whitmer also delivered a video message . Thank You Governor! Congresswoman Haley Stevens also delivered a video message . Hundreds of Zoom and Facebook live events were held (especially music). Miindia.com provided up-to-date information on all community activities. The community still misses the human touch though.
On a positive note, several of our community members won awards and recognitions. Visit our Blog page for updates.
As the vaccine is being rolled out, our community and the world is ready for normalcy. Let us hope to get our lives back soon. In the meantime, be safe and follow the COVID-19 protocols.
Wish you a happy and healthy New Year 2021!!