Ramesh Advani, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Indian American Forum spoke during the Indian American Forum for Political Education in Massachusetts forum to discuss racism and hate.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — The Indian American Forum for Political Education​-Massachusetts (IAFPE) and ​MIT-India, with the support of nearly 40 local community coalitions, hosted a panel discussion at MIT’s Wong Auditorium where matters of local racism were the topic of the hour.

“​IAFPE invites all Massachusetts based organizations​ ​and any other group ​who oppose hate, hate crimes, and racism regardless of membership ​race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, and disability ​to sign-on and stand together as a coalition,” the group said in a statement.

The event was held with the ultimate objective of discussing the recent spike of racially motivated hate crimes, such as the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla. Named “The Colors of the Commonwealth,” the panel served as a call to action for concerned Massachusetts residents to come together and discuss effective community responses, strategies, and resources to combatting racism and hate crimes, including; civic education, reaching out to law enforcement and government officials, and social activism.

Representatives from multiple Massachusetts organizations were in attendance, including ​the Boston Police Department Commissioner William Evans​, ​Attorney General’s Office Chief of Civil Rights Division Genevieve Nadeau, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center Community Outreach Lead Kashif Syed and the New England Anti Defamation League Executive Director Robert Trestan.

“On behalf of the Forum, thank you to all our program speakers and our audience for participating in an insightful conversation at Colors of the Commonwealth,” said IAFPE President Sonali Lappin. “We look forward to ensuring we reach out to and include all groups and their perspectives in the diversity of this coalition. We value your work and the experiences of your membership around hate crimes, racism, and educating community. This is just the beginning of many more conversations and events that will help foster dialogue and spark action.”

The Colors of the Commonwealth
The Colors of the Commonwealth met at MIT’s Wong Auditorium to discuss the recent spike of racially motivated crimes across the U.S.

MIT-India Managing Director Mala Ghosh said that the number of community organizations that came together for the program was inspiring and itself a motivating call to action.

“It was an honor to have the two MIT faculty Kenneth Oye and Vivek Bald frame the panel with a reminder of the South Asian and East Asian immigrant history and highlight patterns of hate crimes and public policy against not only Asian Americans, but other communities of color,” Ghosh said. “We must understand the history and the political context of the current climate as we try to connect beyond the Indian and Indian American community. We must look to partner across religious, national, ethnic, class, race, sexual orientation, gender, and generational differences in-order to build a powerful coalition against hate. I am excited to bring the MIT-South Asian community and network into this discussion.”

The Indian American Forum for Political Education-Massachusetts (IAFPE), known as the Forum, is the oldest and largest Indian American organization for political education in the country. It is nationally recognized for its outstanding work to enhance political awareness among the Indian American community and encourage civic engagement through seminars, symposiums, and their flagship fellowship program in Massachusetts, ​which has well over 100 graduates around the country.

MIT-India is part of MIT International Science & Technology Initiatives (MISTI). MIT-India works with MIT faculty, students, and partners to build strong international connections, collaborations within South Asia, to advance crucial research with global implications, and help MIT students develop into true world leaders capable of shaping the future.