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Vivek Ranadive and the Kings take leadership in community building

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Vivek Ranadive addressing the crowds at the Golden One Center, just before the game, in light of Stephon Clark shooting. Photo: Sacramento Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Diya TV) — In a rare step for a professional sports franchise, the Sacramento Kings and their majority owner Vivek Ranadive are engaging in the contentious national debate over gun violence and the disproportionate amount of deaths of African-American men at the hands of law enforcement.

“We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously. We stand here before old, young, black, white, brown and we are all united in our commitment,” said Ranadive.

The Indian-American tech entrepreneur turned NBA franchise owner made those remarks on center court surrounded by his team after the Kings’ sparsely attended matchup with the Atlanta Hawks on March 22nd. The start of the game was delayed by 19 minutes because of protests over the police involved shooting March 18th of 22-year-old Stephon Clark. Thousands of fans were turned away from the arena because of rancor.

Clark was unarmed and holding a cell phone in his hands while in his grandparents’ backyard when he was killed. Of the 20 rounds fired, eight of them hit Clark, primarily in the back, according to an independent autopsy conducted by renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu.

Sacramento police say the shooting was in self-defense after Clark advanced towards them and ignored their orders to stop. He also had previous run-ins with the law and stood accused that night of breaking into cars.

Ranadive and the Kings are not taking sides, but merely entering the fray has left them vulnerable to criticism at this politically contentious time. Yet that reality has not deterred the team and their owner for being proactive in their support of this grieving community.

The Kings announced an education fund for the children of Stephon Clark and new partnerships with Black Lives Matter Sacramento and the Build.Black. Coalition in an effort to deeply invest in Sacramento’s black youth.

In addition, the NBA community has stood behind Ranadive.

“It was really cool to see the Sacramento community really stand behind each other. And it was really cool to see how Vivek handled it the other night with his address to the crowd,” said Golden State Warriors Guard Klay Thompson.

“I was very proud the way the Kings handled it and the way the NBA handled it.
And I thought Vivek’s words afterwords were beautiful,” remarked Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr.

Ranadive has shown a unique flare for community building since joining the NBA’s ownership ranks. He introduced Bollywood Night to the association when he was co-owner and Vice Chair of the Golden State Warriors and brought the tradition to Sacramento upon becoming the Kings majority owner. It’s become an event the growing Indian community has come to relish.

“I think Vivek is doing a really good job in the sense of promoting that and saying that hey, there’s opportunities like this to come and share a big stage with many talented people, with the basketball players and what not. So I think it’s a really good opportunity for everybody,” said Preet Chahal of “Dance In You” Academy.

“It’s a special privilege for me to be able to do this. To be able to give a shout out to the country of my birth,” said Ranadive.

In our exclusive interview, Ranadive told us why — as one of the few minority owners in sports — he’s speaking up when few in his position would do so.

“We’ve always had the belief, when I bought the franchise, that I had this vision of NBA 3.0. And it was about using technology. It was about being global, which we’ve done. But it was also about using basketball as an agent of good and as an agent of change.”

While he’s still finding his place in the hyper-competitive NBA, it’s clear this changemaker in the tech world is using his words and deeds to make a lasting mark on the Capitol City.

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Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen resigns

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Secretary Nielsen resigns

WASHINGTON, DC (Diya TV) —   Kirstjen Nielsen, the US Homeland Security Secretary, is stepping down over major differences with the administration on how to implement President Trump’s immigration policies.

Meanwhile, President Trump continues to campaign around the nation to make the case for his re-election in 2020. Over the weekend, he told a Las Vegas crowd India is charging 100% tariffs to the U.S. on many things and he wants to reciprocate. He added the Senate is not doing enough to change what he calls “stupid trade.”

The South Asian Bar Association’s Northern California chapter held their annual fundraising gala, a chance for judges, attorneys and the next generation to network and honor their peers.

The NBA Champion Golden State Warriors are moving to San Francisco in the fall, so they held their final Bollywood Night in Oakland. We’ll take you behind the scenes and introduce you to a member of the Warriors Dance Team that choreographed an epic Bollywood dance.

And Ravi Ahuja, the former CFO of Fox Networks, is now Walt Disney Television’s CFO and president of business operations.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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University of Houston’s President, Renu Khator joins the NCAA Division I Board

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NCAA board

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —  Renu Khator, President & Chancellor of University of Houston, the first Indian American to lead a major research university in the U.S., is joining the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors.

Framroze “Fram” Virjee is now permanent president of the California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). He was a private practice lawyer for nearly 30 years before becoming interim CSUF president last year.

Rutgers Law School announced Neal Katyal, the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States and Vanita Gupta, the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will both be 2019 commencement speakers.

George Jacob, the President & CEO of non-profit Bay.org behind the ambitious Bay Ecotarium, received the 2019 Louie Kamookak Medal from the The Royal Canadian Geographic Society for making Canada’s geography better known to Canadians and to the world.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Golden State Warriors host first-ever Sikh Awareness Night

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OAKLAND, CALIF. (Diya TV) — Oracle Arena was the site of the first-ever Sikh Awareness Night as the Golden State Warriors cruised to a 117-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night.

It was the second one in as many weeks throughout the NBA as the Los Angeles Clippers introduced it to their home crowd last week.

Other teams and leagues have previously hosted Sikh Heritage Nights, including the San Jose Sharks, who were the first NHL team last year to hold such an event.

Aman Singh, part of the local gurdwaras organization to put the event together, was excited for the community to be represented.

“We contribute to society here, so it’s great to be able to be part of this, to be able to have exposure and allow other folks in the community to get an idea of our heritage, Sikh values,” Singh said.

Fans got there early enough to take pictures outside Oracle and awaiting them inside was an up-close view of Stephen Curry’s highly-anticipated shootaround.

Soon enough, Singh — who was also coaching the pregame scrimmage — would hit the Warriors hardwood with 16 young kids from the Sikh community to shot hoops.

For 13-year-old Gagandeep Kaur of Milpitas, it was an unforgettable moment to be out there.

“Being able to play on the same court as my inspirations means a lot,” she said.

The five-minute scrimmage right before players from the Warriors and Grizzlies hit the floor included some dazzling shots and a buzzer-beater as well.

Members of the two teams remained close by as they eventually stood in front of their inspirations during the National Anthem.

Additionally, right after halftime, they were greeted with high-fives from Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and among others coming out of the tunnel.

“It’s great to be part of something like this,” Singh said.

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