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Pramila Jayapal Will Continue to fight Anti-Muslim Bias in Congress

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Before her alliance was born with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pramila Jayapal began her best-known community work after she saw Arab Americans, Somali refugees and Muslim Americans being discriminated against and attacked.

In the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Jayapal established a non-profit, rightfully named Hate Free Zone. It is now known as OneAmerica, and serves to curb anti-Muslim backlash.

Now, headed to Congress under President-elect Donald Trump, who was never shy with anti-Muslim rhetoric while on the campaign trail, the Representative-elect remains undaunted.

“We have fought and won before,” she said during an interview with NBC News. “We have been through some incredibly dark times in the history of country, and we have moved forward. It hasn’t been as quickly as we want, but we are extremely powerful when we are united.”

The Democrat made history on Nov. 8 when she became the first Indian-American woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She also became the first woman elected to serve Washington’s 7th Congressional District. Prior to all of this, she had become the first person of color elected to the Washington state congressional delegation.

The 52-year-old will assume the duties of the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Rep. Jim McDermott, who once stood next to Jayapal when she announced the creation of Hate Free Zone back in 2001. McDermott announced his retirement from the seat after serving the district for nearly three decades.

As a current Washington state senator, Jayapal represents one of the most racially and economically diverse districts in the state, she said, and has advocated for an increase in Washington’s minimum wage, free two-year community college tuition, and automatic voter registration.

She won 57 percent of the vote during her Congressional election. Jayapal arrived in the U.S. at age 16 and studied at Georgetown University. She was born in Chennai, India, and was raised in Indonesia and Singapore.

“I’ve always thought of the United States as a place where so much was possible and so many opportunities were out there,” she said. “As an immigrant, I have lived, in a way, the American dream, and I want to make sure that opportunity is available for everybody.”

Outside of specific legislation, especially as a first-term member of Congress, Jayapal hopes to also lay the groundwork to push for more progressive policies.

“Policy is about real people and real stories and sometimes we forget that.” Jayapal said. “Statistics are just a compilation of people’s stories put on paper, and legislation is our attempt to address those real challenges for people.”

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Lewandowski spars with Rep. Jayapal in impeachment probe

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Lewandowski

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski sparred with Rep. Jayapal among others, before a House Judiciary committee, taking on a barrage of questions from members of Congress who are trying to build a case towards the impeachment of President Trump.

100,000 petitions were delivered to the Gates Foundation in Seattle, asking them to rescind the award they plan on giving to Indian Prime Minister Modi for his clean India initiative because of his stance on Kashmir.

Federal investigators, including the FBI, are looking into potential misconduct by Mithril Capital, a venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. Royan has a 20 year relationship with Thiel and has raised in excess of $1 billion, $300 million of which came from Thiel. Some investors are frustrated Mithril is sitting on their money rather than investing in startups, while raking in as much as $30 million per year in management fees.

Hundreds of alums from the Indian Institute of Technology gathered in Southern California for their annual convention, featuring some of the brightest minds in technology.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Over 200 Indian American organizations express concerns over Rep. Ro Khanna’s Pakistan caucus membership

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Ro Khanna

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Diya TV) — 230 Hindu and Indian American organizations led by the Hindu American Foundation expressed concern in a letter to Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna about his recent membership to the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and a recent tweet which they say “in effect endorsed the views of “a fringe and extremist anti-Hindu activist, Pieter Friedrich.” Khanna, who is also a member of the Indian caucus, says he joined the Pakistan caucus to have a seat at the table to bring peace to the region.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy is leading a delegation around India, one of four state leaders making plans to visit this year. The governor and his wife visited the Taj Mahal & later met with Prime Minister Modi. 

Sri Lankan American Raj Rajaratnam, a central figure in one the largest hedge fund insider-trading rings in American history, is now out of prison two years early. He is mostly confined to his apartment for the remainder of his sentence, but he can work outside his home during the day.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Howdy, Modi! How come Texas?

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak in Houston

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — For world leaders, shaking hands with President Donald Trump has become a practice akin to the elaborate military drill on Wagah border. Not so much for Prime Minster Narendra Modi. The Trump-Modi camaraderie of banters, hugs, and viral hand-slapping is one more reason that the 50,000 strong crowd is excited to witness the historic ‘Howdy Modi’ community summit on September 22.

A community summit is just that: leaders of the community, politicians, corporates and all supporters of a common cause coming together to collaborate and celebrate. With the tagline ‘Shared Dreams, Bright Futures,’ the event will promote relations that go beyond the ‘America First’ and ‘Make in India’ policies that have often strained diplomatic encounters between the two countries. There couldn’t have been a better venue than Houston, Texas, for all purposes of this event

Slick for Oil

As the second largest state in the U.S., by population and GDP, Texas has significant trade relations with India. India is Houston’s 4th largest trading partner—just behind Brazil, China, and Mexico. The biggest exports from Texas are chemicals, petroleum, and coal. With constantly rising all prices, energy security is a major concern for the Prime Minister. Tellurian, natural gas company headquartered in Houston, is one of the major sponsors of the event.

Indian Diaspora’s ‘Shared Dreams’

The greater Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas have a thriving Indian American community with influential presence across various sectors of the economy. It is a significant voting bank for the Republican governed state to influence for the 2020 elections.

“At a time in the world where there is so much disunity, I think promoting unity between people and cultures in the world is a great thing,” says Robert Adams, a cross cultural training consultant and YouTuber (Chai & Coaching)  Over 150,000 Indian Americans live in the Houston metro area alone. Socio-cultural ties are a dominant way in which the community preserves its heritage while away from India. The cultural events preceding Modi’s address will showcase performances executed entirely by the Indian American community.

Indian Students, the ‘Bright Future’

Several Indian student associations in the US have partnered with the organizers, Texas India Forum, for the event. “The atmosphere in UT Dallas is pretty electric at this point. 6 to 8 buses will be leaving Sunday morning.” says Anirudh Ashok, a student at UT Dallas.

Regardless of political outcomes, this community summit is historic in the ways it will determine a new narrative that emerges about the world’s largest democracy on a platform offered by the world’s oldest democracy.

“Today’s youth is very aware of all the politics. My friends who were not involved in politics have started reading more and realize that Mr. Modi is doing great things for the country,” says Ashok.

Many individuals and groups have chosen to ignore or protest the event. But for those who will be a part of this momentous event, and for Trump and Modi, the show must go on, literally.

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