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Angad Singh Padda’s speech inspires U.C. Berkeley Commencement Class

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Angad Singh Padda
Angad Singh Padda

Angad Singh Padda, seen here at last week’s UC Berkeley undergraduate commencement ceremony, delivered an inspiring address to the crowd.

BERKELEY, Calif. (Diya TV) — Angad Singh Padda woke up last Monday morning prepared to celebrate the culmination of all his hard work at UC Berkeley’s undergraduate commencement ceremony.

He sat cross-legged on the Greek Theatre stage next to Dean Rich Lyons, and began to beat on classical Indian drums called the Tabla.

“That intense beat right there was everybody’s heartbeat right before we opened our admissions letters,” said Padda, who wore a bright yellow turban that was inspired by Cal colors. “When I got in I was so happy my face was as bright as this turban.”

“On a serious note,” he continued. “for this speech to work I need everybody’s help. For a couple of seconds, please, close your eyes everybody. Think about that one problem that matters most to you, that one issue you really need resolved to make this world a better place. Now open your eyes. That right there is the core of my speech today.”

Just six months ago, Padda was among 30 of his fellow Haas undergraduate classmates who had auditioned for the role and honor of the commencement’s speaker. When he was ultimately selected, Padda went out and asked more than 70 classmates what mattered to them most.

While he took all of their considerations to heart, Padda said he never drafted an official address for his remarks.

“If I was to memorize a speech and write it down I wouldn’t be able to feel it and connect with the audience,” he said.

The talk, which he titled “A Sikh’s graduation speech to unite the world,” centered on the idea that we are all one and can all unite to solve global problems. He spoke of losing two best friends to drugs in his home state of Punjab, and said his plan when coming to the U.S. was to become successful enough to return home and fight the scourge of drug abuse.

Then he turned to some the problems his classmates had shared with him.

“Whenever there’s a kid in Oakland who can’t afford school, that’s a problem,” he said. “Whenever climate change wipes out a species, that’s a problem. Whenever a Muslim woman gets bullied because of her hijab, or a Jewish man because of his yarmulke, or a Sikh man because of his turban, that is a problem. When a father in Syria cries because he lost his entire family to a missile strike, that’s a problem.”

He urged the other undergraduates in attendance at the ceremony “to use our education to go beyond ourselves to make this world a better place. We want to unify this world. That’s the core spirit of every student right here. That is who we are.”

Padda, who accepted a job at JP Morgan as an investment banker, will leave soon to begin training in New York, and will start working in San Francisco after that.

“Berkeley is like home for me,” he said. It is in Berkeley where Padda said he’s received the sort of protection and welcoming spirit many of his fellow Sikhs across the U.S. have not. “I have so many friends across the U.S. who wear turbans. One friend was called Osama Bin Laden and told “Get out. You don’t belong here.”

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India-China strike détente over border issues

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India

Ladakh, INDIA (Diya TV)  — Just days after Indian Prime Minister Modi visited the frontlines in Ladakh to encourage his troops and honor those lost in a recent battle with China, India and China jointly announced both countries will disengage, pulling back in a limited manner at separate key points. A two-hour frank conversation between both nation’s foreign ministers led to the breakthrough. While both sides claim their sovereignty had been violated, India made some major economic moves against China in recent days, banning investment, stopping Chinese participation in freeway developments and blocking 59 apps including TikTok. TikTok announced they would lose up to $6 billion because of India’s ban.

In a statement on his agenda for Muslim Americans, presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden said he was disappointed with the Indian government’s implementation of the National Register of Citizens in Assam, the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act and recent actions in Jammu and Kashmir. Biden has a long list of agendas he plans to implement if he is elected President, but there is no listing as of yet for Hindu and Sikh Americans.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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COVID-19 explodes: 50,000 cases in one day, 10,000 in Florida

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COVID19

AUSTIN, Texas (Diya TV)  — Fears of a COVID19 spike have been realized, as the caseload around the nation continues to set records daily. On Wednesday, 50,000 new cases were reported around America, 10,000 in Florida alone. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is now mandating masks in his hard-hit state and states that were starting to open up are now reworking their plans in order to combat COVID19.

As Indian and Chinese military commanders held a third round of talks on disengagement, the Indian government made another move against business and investment from China, announcing Chinese companies will not be allowed to take part in India’s highway and transportation projects, among other sectors. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi deleted his account on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

President Trump though White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany made his strongest remarks to date on the India-China conflict, saying “China’s aggressive stance along the India-China border fits with a larger a pattern of Chinese aggression in other parts of the world and these action only confirm the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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California lawsuit alleges caste-based discrimination at Cisco

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Cisco

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV)  — California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Silicon Valley titan Cisco Systems and two of their former employees alleging discrimination against an Indian-American Dalit employee. The man claims harassment by two men who are Indian Americans of a higher caste, former Cisco engineering managers Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella. Cisco denies the charges.

On the heels of India banning 59 Chinese apps from being distributed, the FCC designated Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE as threats to national security, saying money allocated by the government for broadband and other 5G related products cannot be used on equipment by those vendors. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lauded India for their ban of Chinese apps.

And in a new letter to Secretary of State Pompeo, 20 Senators are urging the Trump Administration to grant emergency refugee protections to Hindu and Sikh communities that have been long persecuted in Afghanistan.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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