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South Asian legal minds gather to celebrate 15th annual SABA conference in New York City

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NEW YORK (Diya TV) — The conference and perhaps the largest gathering of South Asian legal minds in America aka the 15th annual SABA (South Asian Bar Association) of North America kicked off in the heart of the New York city. The immediate past president, Rishi Bagga noted the importance of hosting this conference in the Big Apple. “We now live in a time when legal protections for immigrants are under attack; when nativist sentiments and rhetoric have sought to divide those who were born here from those who were not; at a time when our community’s lawyers must ‘Carry the Torch’ for the South Asian immigrant community and other immigrant communities,” he said. “And a time when SABA must continue to work to ensure greater diversity and inclusion with the legal profession at large.”

 Outgoing President of SABA Rishi Bagga, Rep. Grace Meng and the incoming President of Sundeep Sandhu at the opening night reception

Outgoing President of SABA Rishi Bagga, Rep. Grace Meng and the incoming President of Sundeep Sandhu at the opening night reception

With all the recent events of immigrant families being separated, this year’s conference didn’t skip a beat jumping right into all the issues that matter to this organization. This year’s panels featured personal insights from some of the brightest minds in the South Asian American legal community including judges, law firm leaders, in-house counsel, and lawyers making waves inside and outside the profession. This year we were fortunate to welcome a large number of South Asian judges including the Hon. Cathy Bissoon, Hon. Sanket Bulsara, Hon. Raj Chatterjee, Hon. Raja Rajeswari and Hon. Sri Srinivasan.

The programming focused on ways South Asian attorneys could break the current boundaries within the legal profession. For example, VP and US General Counsel for McDonald’s Corporation, Mahrukh Hussain joined a panel of women general counsels to discuss the paths they chose and challenges they faced in their careers. In addition, a plenary panel focused on the pros, cons and consequences of choosing a life in the public eye featured Ravi Bhalla, Mayor of Hoboken; Sudha Setty, Dean, Western New England School of Law; Amit Agarwal, Solicitor General, State of Florida; Sayu Bhojwani, President, New American Leaders Project; and Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York

The Conference closed with a gala featuring keynote speaker Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) who reminded SABA members that one continually has the choice “to accept things as they are or take responsibility for changing them.” Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and longtime SABA member was also a featured speaker and echoed the comments of Sen. Booker, encouraging SABA members to continue “joining together in solidarity … by taking the effort to speak, march, vote or do other things necessary to fight for what they believe in.”

The SABA Foundation, the charitable arm of SABA, also held its Annual Benefit during the Conference. The SABA Foundation identifies and supports organizations that provide critical services to the most vulnerable members of the South Asian Community and awarded grants to Manavi, South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI), Kiran, Inc., Narika and the Innovation Law Lab. SABA Foundation also honored comedian and activist, Hari Kondabolu, with its first ‘Hero Award’ for his work raising awareness and improving the lives of South Asians in North America.

As always this conference also marked the change in leadership, with a swearing in ceremony for a new President and Executive Committee. SABA’s new President, Sundeep Sandhu, emphasized the role the organization will continue to play in improving the general welfare of the South Asian community in North America. “Issues with respect to diversity and inclusion, civil rights and access to justice have never been more prevalent than they are today and SABA members have been unwavering in their dedication to addressing these issues,” Sandhu stated. “We see this not only with the leadership of our 26 chapters but through the individual actions of our 8,000 strong membership, like our members who attended the nationwide protests held against the current administration’s policy on separating migrant families – a policy that SABA has firmly stood against.”

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India to play central role in revitalizing the global economy

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India

SANTA CLARA, Ca. (Diya TV) — Nearly 250 guests around the globe joined together to listen to the latest entry in the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) “India and the World” discussion series, aptly titled, “India and the Re-emerging Global Order: Thought Leadership on COVID-19 Geopolitical Implications. The panel featured notable speakers from business and political fields alike including TATA’s Chair for Strategic Affairs Dr. Ashley J. Tellis, Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns, and McLarty Associates President and Co Founder Nelson Cunningham; additional remarks were made by CII’s Director General Chandrajit Banerjee, and the discussion was moderated by CII’s past President Dr. Naushad Forbes. 

The event kicked off with Dr. Forbes casting a light on the lack of international collaboration in response to the global threat that the COVID-19 virus poses to the world. Forbes pushed further by highlighting that countries have a tendency to value domestic solutions and supply chains in order to secure national security despite the benefits that global trade relations, efforts, and organizations can provide. 

While Dr. Tellis found herself in agreement with Forbes’ statement in regards to a short term solution, she also put forth the belief that while countries may initially shirk away from the efficiency and comparative benefits of international interdependent supply chains, that the disadvantages of resiliency are vastly unsustainable in the post COVID world and would consequentially result in moving away from such practices. 

Cunningham posits that the pandemic has merely exacerbated changes in pre existing conditions, such as the strengthening of borders, rise of nationalism, and governments becoming increasingly insular. 

Ambassador Burns put forth his voice to insist upon that that the need for international collaboration is has reached an all time high, as its’ propogation is necessary for the development and distribution for a vaccine as well as the recovery of the global economy at large. 

The panelists ultimately came to the conclusion that trade within the upcoming years will continue to become increasingly difficult, albeit nations like India will hold advantages over their neighbors and global competitors that benefit from its long term recovery. 

India has become an enthusiastic focal point for companies seeking a reliable partner for global businesses, particularly those seeking to distance themselves from China’s response to the pandemic. Dr. Tellis echoed her earlier sentiment by stating that while globalism will face a short term decline, India will play a vital role in grappling with the rise of regional trade networks that will begin to develop. The panelists concurred that India’s position in the resurgence of a global trade economy has earned the country numerous allies in the United States, but that the investments will take time to nurture, thus necessitating that India must perpetuate engagements with the US in the government, corporate, and civil sectors in order to cement trade and strategic ties. 

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H1B Visa holders in limbo, stranded by lockdowns

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H1B

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — While the U.S. and India continue to loosen up movement restrictions put in place because of COVID-19, there are still thousands of H1B and other visa holders stranded in India because American consulates there are closed. Now job losses, money issues and family separations are taking their toll alongside these H1B woes.

There’s more than 112,000 cases of COVID-19 in India after a recent spike, with the death toll now over 3,400. India is now the epicenter in Asia for the virus, but the government is easing lockdown measures in some of the most heavily populated parts of the country. There are now more than 5 million people infected with COVID-19 globally.

Another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to more than 38 million people around the U.S. The unprecedented rate of job losses comes at a time many states are trying to reopen in an environment where the previous economic demand is just not there.

And we’ll show you the latest innovation in social distancing, courtesy of Parks & Recs folks in San Francisco.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report. 

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Controversial St. Paul, Minnesota India resolution approved

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Controversial St. Paul, Minnesota India resolution approved | Diya TV News

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Diya TV) — It’s just a symbolic resolution, but it caused so much controversy, the St. Paul, Minnesota city council postponed their vote for two weeks. But in a 5-0 decision, with two abstentions, the council declared they oppose India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, a potential National Registry of Citizens, while stating India’s ruling party, the BJP, is “Islamophobic.” The resolution was advocated for by the Council on Islamic Relations Minnesota, whose leadership celebrated the condemnation of “Islamophobic ideology and standing in solidarity with all the minorities of India!” Meanwhile, Hindu American Foundation leaders, who coordinated 12,000 letters opposing the resolution, said “St. Paul’s resources are better spent on building community, not dividing it,” adding the “hypocrisy is breathtaking.”

And to celebrate the legacy of the late Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man slain in a hate crime, the non-profit Act To Change, co-founded by actor Maulik Pancholy, held the second annual AAPI Day Against Bullying + Hate, featuring a score of stars committed to ending bullying.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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