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Sikh American Gurbir Singh Grewal could become NJ’s first South Asian Attorney General

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Gurbir Singh Grewal being sworn in as Bergen County Prosecutor in January 2017

HACKENSACK, NJ (Diya TV) — Governor-elect Phil Murphy on Tuesday announced Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal as his nominee to serve as state attorney general, the Democrat’s first high-level nomination as he works to fill out an administration set to take office on Jan. 16.

The pick of Grewal, an Indian-American Sikh, could prove historic. If Grewal is confirmed by the state Senate, which seems all but certain, Murphy said he would become the first South Asian attorney general in New Jersey and the first Sikh to hold the position in any state.

“The American dream is alive and well in New Jersey,” Grewal said at a news conference in Trenton where Murphy made the announcement.

Grewal, a Glen Rock resident and former federal prosecutor, has led the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office since Republican Gov. Chris Christie tapped him for the role in January 2016. He served in an acting capacity until the Senate confirmed him to a five-year term in November 2016.

Grewal, a Democrat, has earned plaudits for his office’s work in combating the opioid crisis in Bergen County and promoting better relations between police and the people they serve.

The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) congratulated Gurbir S. Grewal.
“The decision to appoint a visible minority as the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey reflects the diversity of the state and of the US, and is especially important in a time where minorities and immigrants have often felt targeted by law enforcement,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga. “We applaud Governor-elect Murphy in picking a distinguished and qualified member of the South Asian and Sikh American legal community for this pivotal role. We strongly support Mr. Grewal’s nomination as Attorney General and look forward to working with him on issues of national importance.”

Mr. Grewal has spent most of his legal career in public service, where he is currently the Bergen County prosecutor. Working for most populous county in New Jersey, Grewal serves a community of almost one million with his staff of 265.

Among other initiatives, Grewal has put in place a strategy of persuading recently arrested or hospitalized addicts to immediately talk to addiction recovery specialists. That has led to nearly three-quarters of those addicts agreeing to enter treatment at some point.

Attorney general is one of the most powerful positions in New Jersey government, serving as the state’s top cop and top lawyer. The person in that role leads the 7,200-employee Department of Law and Public Safety, which includes the State Police, civil rights enforcement, consumer affairs and civil litigation.

Grewal’s confirmation would be the second notable accomplishment for New Jersey Sikhs in recent months. Earlier this year, Ravi Bhalla was elected mayor of Hoboken and will become the first Sikh to hold that office in New Jersey.

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Indiaspora Dalberg survey digs deep into Indian American giving

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Sunil Wadhwani of Wish Foundation talks to Diya TV about the need for Indian Americans to give back more than just their time and talent.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In a day long summit held at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., non-profit Indiaspora gathered some of the biggest donors in the Indian American community. Members from the Indian American non-profit sector along with prolific philanthropists such as Sunil Wadhwani of the Wish Foundation & Deepak Raj from Pratham USA stressed on the need for giving back. Indiaspora partnered with Dalberg Advisors, to survey and examine the charitable habits and nuances within the Indian American community.

Keynoted by Swetha Totapally of Dalberg, the summit dove into this survey and its findings. One such finding was the tremendous amount of hours Indian Americans donated in terms of volunteering. However, according to the survey, in proportion to their cumulative wealth, the community as a whole is not meeting its obligation to give back adequately, given its prominence & affluence.

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Exclusive: One on One with Sen. Kamala Harris at Impact Summit 2018

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Kamala Harris

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Earlier this month, more than 200 Indian American candidates, elected officials, among others gathered in Washington for the inaugural Impact Summit, an effort to build a long term political network for the diaspora. All five Indian American members of Congress spoke at this event that was sponsored in part by Diya TV. Below is a transcript of an interview conducted on site by Ravi Kapur with Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris for our public affairs program “The Public Interest,” edited for clarity.

Q: We just had the California primary and turnout was really low. Given the political environment that you see here in Washington, now in your role as a senator, do you feel that folks are just uninspired to come out to vote, no matter who the candidate is?

A: Actually, I don’t. I’ve been seeing a level of activeness and participation that actually gives me a lot of optimism about our future. I’ve been seeing young people, teenagers, middle school students who are coming out, who are thinking about issues, who are speaking about issues. You look at those kids from Parkland, Florida, high school students, and what that has excited around high school students around the country to speak up about issues like gun violence. You look at the dreamers and the DACA kids who are coming by thousands to the United States Capitol, walking the halls of Congress to speak about immigration policy. If you look at all the young people, in particular, who are coming out to talk about issues linked to disparities around race or economic disparities and inequalities.

I actually am very excited about what I have been seeing — a record number of women who are running for office, many whom have never run for office before. So I think there is something about this very difficult moment of time, which is where we are right now, where we have powerful voices that are sowing hate and division. The other side of that is activating a lot of people to say, ‘I’m not going to stand for it. I’m going to get out. I’m going to stand up. I’m going to stand up. I’m going to speak out.’ So I think it’s very exciting and the only thing I would ask everyone, and all of your viewers, is stay involved. Stay involved because your issues will not be heard if you don’t stay involved, if you don’t speak out. You can speak through your vote, you can speak through your voice, but get involved in elections, campaigns. Look up candidates, whoever speaks up to your values and your issues, but stay involved. That’s how democracy works. And we won’t be seen if we’re not heard.

Q: Speaking of involvement, you’re the first Indian American woman ever to hold a Senate seat. A lot of folks look to you for inspiration. What message do you impart to all these young folks who aspire to be where you are today?

A: That they just keep in their role of leadership, keep speaking about truths, speaking about truths, even if they are difficult to speak, even if they are difficult for people to hear because that’s how we cultivate trust. That’s how we actually forge ahead in terms of the kind of leadership we need. We need to speak difficult truths, whether it be about race, whether it be about income equality, whether it be about gender equality. Let’s speak the truth about the things we want to see happen, around the topic of immigration reform and to stay involved. It’s really important.

Q: It appears many Democrats and Republicans are not necessarily talking to each other, but rather over each other. How do we get more folks involved and engaged in politics so they are not talking over each other? Also, do you have a game plan for 2020? President Trump said he is running again and Democrats are still looking for that national leader fill the void.

A: Part of what we have to do is focus on 2018. That’s where I’m focused at the moment. I think we have to focus on 2018. The re-elections are coming soon, 152 days, I think, from today (June 7). And the decisions we make about who will be in these positions of progress, whether it be in the Senate or the House of Representatives, will be very important and pivotal to issues like what we are going to do around immigration for this country. So I really urge people to stay focused on 2018.

Watch all of the interviews from the Impact Summit on The Public Interest with Ravi Kapur, Sunday at 9 am & 5 pm local time, exclusively on Diya TV.

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NBA champs Golden State Warriors at the forefront of celebrating American diversity

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Stanford's competitive dance group Basmati Raas perform outside the Oracle Arena as fans make their way to see the NBA champs take on the Phoenix Suns

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — The Golden State Warriors dominated this regular season game during Black History Month against the Phoenix Suns, all while showcasing Indian culture & heritage. From pre-game performances outside the Oracle Arena entrances, to on court displays of brilliant choreography and Indian dances, the Warriors celebrated their annual Bollywood Night bigger and better than ever.

Mandeep Singh Dhillon from San Jose is excited for his three kids who love Bhangra as much as they love Basketball

Mandeep Singh Dhillon from San Jose is excited for his kids who love Bhangra as much as they love Basketball

The evening began with a performance by Sikh dance group know as “The Lion Kings”, kids ranging from as young as 7 years to 16 years of age danced while getting the crowds going. Up next, on another entrance, Stanford’s competitive dance, Basmati Raas strutted their stuff ‘Gujju-style’ in Warriors Blue & Yellow showing how this next generation of American Born Desi kids are not ABCDs but ABPDs…American Born Proud Desis!

Before tip-off the Warriors All Stars – Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson & Draymond Green, received their all-star jerseys. While the splash party continued in the first half, the halftime show belonged to the always incredible Bhangra Empire. They brought down the house, ‘Punjabi-style’ with a colorful & masterful display of choreography and Sikh culture.

This performance was followed by Bhangra by the Bay, which is just what the crowd needed. Steph score 22 and new addition Omri Casspi scored 19 for dominant 129-83 victory for Golden State.

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