October 30th, 2001 was a proud day for the Indo-American community of Greater Houston. The community as a whole went to City Hall and presented a symbolic check, of almost a quarter of million dollars, to Mayor Lee Brown and Robbie Blanton of Red Cross. The numbers are still pouring in and the Indo-American Chamber estimates at least $250,000 has been raised citywide for the victims of the September 11th attack.
Immediately following the bombing Indo-Americans city wide, through eighty-five different organizations, went on different drives to show their sympathy and empathy for the victims of the attack. Some volunteered at the blood donation centers; others donated refreshments for the volunteers and still others donated a dayï¿½s wages or more. Even Indian students who are here on student visas and meager stipends donated $2114 dollars to the Red Cross to help with the relief efforts. The Indo-American Charity Foundation has donated $50,000 to WTC funds, which benefit the Firemen, Police and the Red Cross. BAPS has already sent $51,000 towards the relief efforts. Digitalsoft, an Indian subsidiary of Compaq, raised $22,420 through their employees donating their dayï¿½s wages. These are only few of the many organizations that have donated generously. The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Indian Organizations decided to document the efforts of everyone and make the information available to the City officials and the media to dispel misconceptions regarding the Indo-American sentiments and political leanings. The community would like the American public to be aware that the Indo-Americans have adopted the US as their home and are as patriotic and loyal as any other American living here. The greatness of American lies in the fact it is a Land of Immigrants and has always welcomed everyone with open arms.
Mayor Lee brown praised the efforts of the community and presented the check on behalf of the Indo-Americans to Robbie Blanton, Director of Financial Development for Red Cross. Prominent leaders of the Indo-American Community, such as, Consul General of India, Rinzing Wangdi, Mr. Paul Likhari (Indo-American Charity Foundation), Sam kannappan (Federation of Indian Organizations), Dev Mahajan (Arya Samaj), Aku Patel (BAPS), Suresh Shenoy (Hillcroft Merchants), Tupil Narasimhan (Meenakshi Temple), Bharat Upadhyay (Hindu Worship Society), Durga Agrawal (Piping technology), were part of this historical meeting with City council. Major television networks and the news media covered the meeting. The Consul General had words of praise for the efforts of the Indian community and also words of caution to the nation in general. He said India has faced terrorism for the past decade and he is glad United States has joined in the fight against “State sponsored Terrorism”.
Mr. Ashoke Nath, President of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, addressed the city council and said, “Today we stand here with you as Fellow-Americans and Houstonians of Indian origin. We are known as the Indo-American Community of Greater Houston. Our love for this country and the principles she stands for are as dear and precious to us as any other red blooded American. And one day in the near future we hope to see one of us occupying one of the chairs in this hall.”
The efforts of the community were for the people who are and were our countrymen, our firefighters, our policemen and our government workers. And these fund drives are still on going. “We may look different but we share the dreams and the principles of freedom and all that makes America great and the envy of the world. We grieve for those that are lost but we take pride in our resilience as a nation … for United We Stand. God Bless America”, said Mr. Nath