Desi Talk - page 16

March 4, 2016
– that’s all you need to know
apoleon Harris,
Democratic candidate
for U.S. Senate and cur-
rent 15th District Illinois
State Senator held a
Meet and Greet, Feb. 25, at
Hema’s Kitchen on Devon Avenue
in Chicago. Kishore Mehta, who is
the executive director for
Volunteers for Napoleon Harris
2016, organized the press meet.
Harris, candidly talked about
platform issues, like education,
jobs, social security, healthcare,
and working class families. “I
understand the needs of Illinois.
We need better universities and
professors, better infrastructure,
well-paying jobs, safe neighbor-
hoods, and more small business-
es,” he said. Harris plans to
increase jobs in infrastructure by
building roads, buildings, and
transportation systems through-
out Illinois and making it attrac-
tive and easier to do business in
Illinois. Harris also wants to help
small business by increasing their
access to capital and bank loans
as they are the backbone of the
Another important concern for
Harris is the rising cost of college
education. “I want to address
issues like cost of college educa-
tion and student debt. There is a
direct impact between education
and economic growth and hope
to make long term investments in
education.” He also plans to fight
for legislation that will prevent
students from losing their schol-
arships for participating in
protests. Harris, has successfully
garnered resounding support
from the South Asian community
leaders including, Sohan Joshi
who stated the “I resolve to give
Napoleon Harris my first vote on
Monday morning” and urged
members for the community to
do the same.
“I am supporting Senator
Harris because he understands
the needs of minorities in Illinois,
he supports small business
growth believes in growing the
economy instead of increasing
the tax burden. He has been a
proven leader,” said Bhailal Patel,
founder and trustee of Federation
of Indian Associations. “As a
minority, my goal is to keep my
eyes and ears and open to serve.
Illinois deserves a leader who is
present and understands their
point of view,” he said.
Senator Harris is the vice -
chair of State Insurance
Committee and serves on State
Public Health, Economic and
Dvelopment Committees.
South Asians Back Democratic U.S. Senate Aspirant Napoleon Harris
he Sikh Religious Society
hosted a civic engagement
and voter’s education
forum presented by speakers
Reema Kapur and Zahra
Saylawala from South Asian
American Policy and Research
Institute (SAAPRI) and Steve
Hosik Moon from Asian
Americans Advancing Justice in
Chicago Feb. 21, at Sikh
Gurdwara in Palatine Ill.
Rajinder Singh Mago, public
and media relations coordinator
organized the event for the Sikh
The speakers in the forum
explained the importance of civic
engagement, getting registered to
vote and exercising their right to
vote by actually casting their bal-
Also, the speakers spoke
about the importance of atten-
dees encouraging and mobilizing
others in the Asian American
community to get the vote out.
The presentation included
specific examples backed by sta-
tistical data hitting the point
home that every vote does count,
especially where many tight races
are decided with a minuscule
margin of few hundred votes.
“We need to get inspiration
from the Indo-Canadian commu-
nity which has fared extremely
well in the recent Canadian elec-
tions where several cabinet min-
isters and even the federal
defense minister appointed are
Sikh Indo-Canadians,” said Mago,
“Our community is also encour-
aged to work as paid poll work-
ers, election judges, or volunteer
in election campaigns,” he
A display table was also set up
in the lobby with pertinent litera-
ture to educate the community
The Asian American commu-
nity’s population growth rate is
such that by the year 2050 the
Asian-American community is
expected to be the leading minor-
ity voting bloc in the U.S. “We
must get ourselves and our next
generation involved in getting
our rightful voices heard,” he
For the 2016 general and pri-
mary elections, the SAAPRI and
Asian Americans Advancing
Justice in will be partnering to
mobilize the South Asian com-
munity to get out the vote.
The goal is to increase voting
rates among South Asians in
Illinois, particularly the greater
Chicagoland area. Together,
SAAPRI and Advancing Justice-
Chicago will host forums for
community discussion about the
importance of exercising the right
to vote.
“The South Asian community
needs to respond to the current
climate of anti-immigrant rheto-
ric, xenophobia and
Islamaphobia with political
action and power,” said Reema
Kapur, SAAPRI executive director.
“We encourage South Asian com-
munity leaders to join our initia-
tive to empower the community.”
There are over 242,000 South
Asians living in Illinois, haling
from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Among South Asians in Illinois,
67 percent are U.S. citizens and
therefore eligible to register and
The next election in Illinois
will take place March 15, where
voters will select Democratic and
Republican party nominees for
President, Senate, and Congress,
as well as the Illinois General
Assembly and local races. The
general election will be held Nov.
Sikh Religious Society Hosts
Voter’s Education Forum
Photo above, from left, Vijay Prabhakar,
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
and Illinois Senator Napoleon Harris
and Kishore Mehta, Executive Director
Volunteers for Napoleon 2016, at the
South Asian Community Meet and Greet
Feb. 25.
Seminar on Civic Engagement and Voters Education at Palatine Gurdwara Feb. 21.
From left, Zahra Saylawala, Rajinder Singh Mago, Reema Kapur and Steve Moon.
uranjali music ensemble,
hosted a Valentine’s Day
Gala, called “Pyaar Manga
Hai Tumhi Se”, Feb. 13, on the
eve of Valentine’s day at Sher-
A- Punjab restaurant in the
western suburb of Downers
Grove, Illinois.
More than 100 attendees
experienced the nostalgia of
melodious romantic
Bollywood songs. The highlight
of the evening was a bouquet
of carefully planned string of
old and new songs ranging
from Rafi, Kishore, Yesudas,
Lata, Asha, Alka Yagnik, Sonu
Nigam, Arijit and Shreya
With a packed house,
singers from Suranjali were
able to keep the guests on their
toes with beautiful singing and
foot tapping music.
The patrons enjoyed the
show very much. “We came
here thinking of just old songs
but were pleasantly surprised
by the quality of singing, ener-
gy and overall music arrange-
ment. Kudos to the organizers
“ said Sneh Sharma, one of the
An their unique style Ashok
Menon sang Rafi and Yesudas
songs, Sunil Pillai sang Arijit,
Kumar Sanu and Mahendra
Kapoor songs while Vijaya
Israni sang Lata and Asha,
Suresh Israni for Kishore
Kumar and Manmeet Kaur for
Shreya, Asha and Lata.
According to Suresh Israni,
“Suranjali’s offerings are based
on core values of passion and
“We all have quite a bit of
Bollywood in us and if you
enjoy excellent music, fun and
dance, watch out for other
shows featuring Suranjali. The
audio was managed by Amit
Patel (Nupur Sound) and DJ by
Abhi Trivedi. The event was
organized and planned by
Vijayam Pillai of Viji’s Events
and Catering.
A Valentine’s Day Gala
Evening With Suranjali
At the Valentine’s Day musical evening Feb 13 at Sher-A-Punjab restaurant in
Downers Grove, Illinois. From left - Suresh Israni, Ashok Menon, Amit Patel,
Vijaya Israni, Manmeet Kaur, Abhi Trivedi, Sunil Pillai and Vijayam Pillai.
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