IAPAC Hosts Thanksgiving Luncheon to Celebrate Gratitude with Global Cultures

HOUSTON: On December 3, 2022, the Indian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) of Greater Houston hosted their last event of the year, a Thanksgiving Luncheon celebrating Gratitude with Global Cultures and Religions at the Alief Campus of Houston Community College (HCC). Dean Rima Adil opened the event by thanking all guests to her campus and graciously hosted the luncheon at her campus. Samia Ahsan, co-chair for this event, acknowledged community leaders and elected officials before inviting Dr. Roopa Gir, president of IAPAC, who opened the afternoon with the reason behind IAPAC and its goal for the Indian American community.

Next, Vivek Menon, co-chair of the event, brought up a quote by Mahatma Gandhi- “I am a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, and so are all of you”- to open the floor for global prayers. Sartaj Bal opened with a Sikh prayer, Amy Henry with a Christian prayer, Swatantra Jain with a Jain prayer, Tara Narasimhan with a Hindu prayer, Helen Shih with a Buddhist prayer, Andrew Friedberg with a Jewish prayer, and Yasmin Udawala with an Islamic prayer.

After the prayers, Vivek Menon invited KP George, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court Judge, to say a few words. George, with great emotion, thanked all the people who supported and helped him throughout his re-election campaign and overall journey. He continued to talk about the importance of diversity in Fort Bend County, the most ethnically diverse county in the country.

Supporting IAPAC’s mission, George hopes to see more ‘Americans of Indian descent ‘ at the poll, exercising their rights properly and engaging in the community. He ended with saying how thankful he is for the people who believed him and how that thought is enough motivation to keep trying. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude by saying, “Every morning when I get up, I say thank God. One more day to do my job.. to serve.”

Next, Sam Merchant, representing Congressman Al Green, called Dr. Gir to present a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition to IAPAC. He expressed his thanks for all the work IAPAC has done and how much the organization has grown. “The Thanksgiving that we are here to celebrate today is not just thanking us for being part of what we do, but to thank them, the organization, for making all of this a possibility.”

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez thanked all the speakers and acknowledged that this is the season to reflect and be hopeful for the possibilities ahead. He specifically noted that IAPAC, being non-partisan and uplifting the community through similar events, is exactly what the community needs during a time when engaging in politics seems to be very toxic. “We must always remember our humanity. We enforce the law, we protect people, but it doesn’t mean we have to leave our humanity at the door. We can still be just and fair.”

Bangar Reddy, representing Congressman Troy Nehls, expressed his thanks for the event and to IAPAC. He noted how IAPAC brings two parties together, inculcating awareness. Finally, Gene Wu, Texas State Representative-District 137, passionately shared an important message. “It is time to be active. We need to start doing things in our communities, representing them…, and start demanding action.” He exclaimed that hate crimes are through the roof, and now people must fight for their communities. “Success and wealth does not insulate you from violence and discrimination.” He shared a story of how people ask where he is from. When he says he is from Houston, they ask back, “Where are you really from?” This means something. This says that he doesn’t really belong here, that he is not really American. He concludes by saying his children, natural born American citizens, should never have to encounter this question. They will be treated as Americans. After the speeches, food, catered by Biryani Factory, was served, along with huge thanks given to the people who conducted the prayers, elected officials, HCC for graciously allotting their campus on the day, as well as the audience for contributing their time and effort to important causes. “Let gratitude be the pillow on which you kneel… and let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil…”