June 9, 2022
On Wednesday, May 18, over 300 people gathered in Washington, D.C. for a summit hosted by Impact, a non-profit organization dedicated to getting more Indian Americans and South Asian Americans at large elected to public office. The theme of this year’s summit was “Dream with Ambition,” an homage to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’s victory speech. On November 7, 2020, she had said: “To the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.”
“Impact will never waver from…build[ing] political power for the community, not in a transactional way, but to make sure we are represented,” said Raj Goyle, one of the founders of the organization, during opening remarks.
The gala’s first session was a panel with the four Indian American Congresspersons — Representatives Ami Bera (CA-7), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8), Ro Khanna (CA-7), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) — sometimes called the “Samosa Caucus.” Bera, first elected to the House in 2012, is the longest-tenured Indian American member and sits on the House foreign affairs committee. Krishnamoorthi serves the region that includes Chicago’s northwest suburbs and focuses on job creation and global vaccine equity. Khanna serves the neighborhood considered the “heart of Silicon Valley.” Jayapal has been an outspoken advocate for abortion and trans rights, among other policies. (Unfortunately, Jayapal could not make the event due to testing positive for COVID-19.)
“By bringing together our elected leaders, we are raising awareness not only of little-known but critical issues that concern South Asian Americans,” shared Neil Makhija, executive director of Impact, “but also highlighting a path on how we move our country forward as a whole and live up to our highest ideals and aspirations.”
The Juggernaut’s founder, Snigdha Sur, moderated the panel, chatting with the Congresspersons about everything from how the “Samosa Caucus” got its name to their perspectives on the economy, abortion rights, and how to end the COVID-19 pandemic. This is what they had to say.