Multi-ethnic organizations from Illinois celebrate women’s achievements on Capitol Hill

Awardees along with Dr. Prabhakar posing with Illinois Congressmen Davis, Krishnamoorthi, and Jackson at the 11th Annual Congressional International Women’s Day 2023, on March 8, 2023, on Capitol Hill, in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Washington DC: The American Multi Ethnic Coalition (AMEC) and the Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force (MEATF) hosted the 11th Annual Congressional International Women’s Day 2023, on March 8, 2023, on Capitol Hill, and celebrated the achievements of 20 women of diverse ethnicities.

Congressmen Danny Davis, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Jonathan Jackson, and Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, all representing Illinois, along with President of the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Tariq Butt, and Founder of Dads with Daughters, Ravi Karkara were all presented with the Edward & Lily Prabhakar Centenary Awards 2023. The award commemorates the birth centenary of Edward and Lily Prabhakar, parents of Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, founder of AMEC and MEATF.

Eight-year-old Samara Karkara delivering Call to Action at the 11th Annual Congressional International Women’s Day 2023, on March 8, 2023, on Capitol Hill, in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Eight-year-old Samara Karkara, a third grader at MAS school in New York, and a passionate girls’ rights advocate delivered the Call to Action. Karkara while talking about “Sheroes from all over the world,” named 31 sheroes including Rosa Parks, Kamala Harris, and President of India Droupadi Murmu as her inspiration. She wanted everyone at the ceremony to take a pledge to ensure “All girls and women are equal; There will be no segregation for girls and women; All girls and women can do whatever they choose; and All girls and women are free.”

Congressman Davis said, “I thank all of you for coming to visit your house, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. It belongs to you.” Appreciating Samara’s leadership qualities, he referred to her talk as “one of the most fascinating speeches” he had ever heard.

Praising the organizers, Krishnamoorthi said he was happy to be part of the occasion to celebrate women. Referring to the organizers, he said “They do the Lord’s work in terms of helping others in a time when a lot of people need help… so the helpers are the ones that we look to in Congress for leadership.” About Davis, Krishnamoorthi said “he is about the people,” and “community empowerment,” and “if there is a way, he will mean to get it done.”

Acknowledging the efforts of Davis to recognize ethnic communities, minorities, and especially women, Dr. Prabhakar expressed his content in the continuing of the awards ceremony for the second consecutive year on Capitol Hill. He thanked Chief of Staff to Davis, Tumia Romero, for playing a vital role in bringing this ceremony to Capitol Hill. Referring to Karkara, Dr. Prabhakar said he was happy to “[pass] the baton to the next generation,” and her Call to Action “set the tone for today.”

Past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), and Pediatric Anesthesiologist from San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, who was one of the 20 Global Women of Excellence 2023 awardees, highlighted AAPI’s contributions during the COVID pandemic. Dr. Gotimukula said AAPI raised over $5 million in fundraising, supplied oxygen concentrators and ventilators, and provided telemedicine assistance during the acute Delta wave crisis in India. She also talked about AAPI’s national blood donation drive last year, and her ongoing Rural India public health initiative, “Indian Preventive Task Force Guidelines” for preventive health, which has directly benefited 60 villages to-date.

“I work for NASA and diversity inclusion and equity is one of our core values, and I look forward to increasing that through the digital future,” said Deputy Director of NASA Goddard Flight Center, Maryland, Joanne Hill.

Mary Barthelson, 2023 Candidate for Virginia House of Delegates and Space Systems Engineer, an advocate for low-income families in Fairfax County, promoter of STEM education, and supporter for the resettlement of refugees, said, “I believe that it is important for women to support and uplift each other and to encourage one another to pursue their passions and goals. By doing so we can create a world where every woman has the opportunity to succeed regardless of their background or their circumstances.”

Community Activist, Zoe Ma, who helps underserved inner-city youth with violence prevention, through the Gandhi King Center for Non-Violence in Englewood, IL, said she is a Chinese immigrant who arrived in America alone 28 years ago with just $40 in her pocket. “My personal achievement can inspire young women and single mothers, and the path to empowerment is through entrepreneurship,” she said while advocating fair representation of women and minorities in government and corporate world for equitable society.

Among others, NY State Assemblywoman, Jennifer Rajkumar, White House Correspondent of ANI, Reena Bhardwaj, President & CEO of Esolvit, Usha Boddapu, Founder of SAPNA, Dr. Sarada Sonty, and Founder of Vidya Jyothi, Pratibha Jairath were the other awardees.



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