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Indian-American Kesha Ram announces run for Vermont Lt. Governor

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Burlington, Vt. (Diya TV) — Vermont State Rep. Kesha Ram, an Indian-American who was named in India New England New’s list of outstanding women in 2011, is looking to move forward in the next stage of her political career which was inspired by a 2006 speech by then-Senator Barack Obama in support of Bernie Sanders’ senate campaign. Ram has announced her candidacy for Lt. Governor of Vermont, the same land Senator Bernie Sanders hails from. Kesha RamThe 29-year-old democrat has served in the Vermont legislature as a state representative for the past eight years. She hopes to harness the support of Indian Americans around the country in an effort to continue breaking barriers in her home state.

“I will be very honored to get support from and outreach to other Indian-Americans around the country,” Ram said in a statement.

[quote style=’1′ cite=” title=”]“Being in Vermont, I’m not only the first Indian-American to run for an office, but also run for the office of Lieutenant Governor.”[/quote]

The youngest of three children, Ram was raised in New England’s culturally diverse communities, and a diverse home to boot — her father immigrated from India, while her mother was raised stateside in Illinois. Ram’s passion for advocacy and civic engagement were developed over the years after embracing the diversity and community service she witnessed from her parents. Ram went on to attend the University of Vermont after high school, earning a degree in political science and natural resource planning. She then continued her studies, earning her law degree at American University.

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Elected in 2008 to represent Vermont’s Burlington Old North End, Hill Section, and University District, she has since served on the state house’s committees of ways and means, natural resources and energy, and housing and military affairs committees. She currently served as the public engagement specialist for the City of Burlington, working to forge a relationship between the community’s young residents and city government.

Ram has been an active member in Vermont and New England’s South Asian communities, especially in the Bhutanese and Nepali communities. Her website states she’s running for the position “to build and strengthen the economy for working families, expand access to comprehensive early and higher education, and ensure that Vermonters in every corner of our state have a strong advocate in Montpelier.”

She is currently deadlocked in a three-way race for the Democratic Party’s nomination with Brandon Riker, a Vermont businessman, political organizer and economist, and David Zuckerman, a current state senator and former state representative. The winner, who will be determined during the Aug. 9 primary this summer, will face off against Republican candidate Randy Brock, a former state senator in his own right. Additionally, Brock served at Vermont’s auditor.

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US sends aid, and bans travel from India

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US ends aid, bans travel from India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — The Covid-19 crisis continues to spiral out of control in India. And now the U.S. is instituting a travel ban.  It goes into effect on May 4 but won’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Meanwhile foreign aid is flowing into India from places like Israel, America, and Germany.

Sikh’s in Indianapolis held a memorial service to remember the victims of the Fed Ex facility shooting last month. Four of the people who died were from the Sikh community.  Police have not identified a motive for the shooting, yet. It’s unclear if the shooter, a former employee at the facility, was targeting Sikhs. There are a high number of Sikhs, immigrants and refugees who work in the facility.

And mega stars from the Indian diaspora raised more than 3 million dollars for Covid-19 relief in India.  Jay Shetty, Lilly Singh, Deepak Chopra, and Jay Sean. The virtual event was called help India Breathe and aired on Diya TV. The funds are going to three major areas of relief on the ground including food, direct cash transfers to families, and makeshift hospitals.

You can watch the fundraiser and still continue to donate:

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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American Coronavirus aid arrives in India

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American Covid-19 aid arrives in India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — American aid is finally starting to arrive in Covid-19 battered India as vaccination sites run out of shots and thousands of people gasp for air. A U.S. military transport plane delivered more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly one million rapid coronavirus test kits, and other supplies. The country has been reporting an average of more than 350,000 new cases of Covid infections every day for the past week.

After seven hours of public comment and testimony from hundreds of people on whether caste should be added to the county’s non-discrimination policy, the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission deferred their vote pending futher testimony and likely another public hearing. Equality Labs and the Hindu American Foundation each made presentations for and against this potential new category at the hearing, that was broadcast exclusively on Diya TV.
Watch the full event here:

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made history during President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress just by taking their seats — marking the first time two women would be sitting behind the President.  Biden’s Indian American chief speech writer Vinay Reddy wrote the president’s address, adding to the historic evening.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — No end in sight to India’s deepening Covid-19 crisis as the number of new virus cases in the country shatter records. India added nearly 400 thousand new cases on Thursday, breaking the record set a day earlier, boosting the country’s death toll to more than 200 thousand. US officials have urged Americans to leave the country because of the deteriorating conditions.

Several members of the Dalit community and their supporters are addressing the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission to discuss their experiences with caste discrimination. They want the commission to recommend that the Board of Supervisors make caste a legally protected category against discrimination like race, age, gender and sexual orientation. Equality Labs is pushing this agenda but critics say it is anti-Indian and anti-Hindu.

And the Senate overwhelmingly passed an Asian Hate crimes bill and created a new position at the Justice Department to fast track reviews of potential Covid-19 related hate crimes. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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