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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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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign

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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign | Diya TV News

SACRAMENTO (Diya TV) — Indian American Democrat Shrina Kurani is running for Congress in California’s 42nd district and is preparing to take on 15-year Republican incumbent Ken Calvert. Kurani is a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur and says she’s running to create more sustainable jobs in her community and to take on the status quo in Washington DC.

More than 30 interfaith organizations in the U.S. are urging the State Department to sanction India and designate it as a country of “particular concern”. Their resolution claims that the Indian government is promoting policies that lead to the persecution of religious minorities, especially Muslims.
Despite growing concern over rising Covid-19 cases in Japan, the 2021 Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony got underway. India is sending its largest ever contingent to the Olympics with120 athletes competing across 85 events.  The country hopes to win medals for shooting, wrestling, boxing, archery and badminton.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Nearly 200,000 ‘Documented Dreamers’ appeal to Congress for help

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Nearly 200,000 'Documented Dreamers' appeal to Congress for help | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — With no clear path to citizenship and facing deportation, younger Indian Americans who have aged out of their parents’ visas are now appealing to lawmakers for help. The Migration Policy Institute says about 190,000 kids and young adults will be in this situation once they turn 21 years old. Some of them have now formed a coalition saying it’s time to address this ongoing issue.

Electronic signature platform DocuSign appointed Indian American Shanthi Iyer as its new Chief Information Officer. Iyer spent more than 20 years at Cisco and will lead Docusign’s efforts to improve employee productivity and the customer experience.

And Indian start-up SimSim has been acquired by Youtube. The company helps small businesses connect with social media influencers and customers. The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed but insiders say the company was valued at more than $70 million.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan

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Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan | Diya TV News

KANDAHAR (Diya TV) — Pulitzer Prize-Winning photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The 38 year old Indian national was Reuters news agency’s chief photographer in India. Siddiqui was credited for capturing some of the most powerful images during the Covid-19 pandemic.

17-year-old Indian-American Samir Banerjee clinched the junior Wimbledon singles tennis title. Celebrating Samir’s achievement, many Indians took to social media to congratulate the youngster.

Jeff Bezos blasted off into space Tuesday on his Blue Origin rocket ship. It was the company’s first flight with people on board.  Bezos is now the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft. The Amazon founder was accompanied by his brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer from Texas — the youngest and oldest to ever fly in space.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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