N.Y. legislature declares August 2019 Indian-American Heritage Month


This June 13, the New York State general assembly passed Bill NY K00555, by a 45-20 vote declaring August 2019 as Indian-American Heritage Month.

Logo of the New York State Assembly. Photo: from LinkedIn page of NY State Assembly

Passing the resolution has become an annual event after 2015, when Democratic Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, who represents N.Y. Assembly District 96, upon requests from his Indian constituents, initiated the resolution, his office told News India Times. His district includes the entire towns of Clarkstown and Haverstraw, and part of the Town of Ramapo.

The Bill K00555 notes how The Immigration and Nationality Act, enacted on June 30, 1968, abolished the national origins quota system replacing it with a preference system focused on skills and family relationships.

That radical change of 1968, to immigration rules which had been in existence since 1920, increased Indian immigration to the U.S. from fewer than 15,000 to more than 200,000 by 1980, it says, adding that today there are approximately 4 million Indian-Americans in the country, of whom an “astounding” 72 percent have a bachelor’s degree compared to the national average of just 28 percent.

“Indian-Americans  greatly  contribute  to  the leadership, wisdom and vitality of our great State and Nation,” the Bill says, and names achievers in numerous fields in the text – Miss New York Nina Davuluri to the first Indian-American governor of a state, formr Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal; and the  first Indian-American ever elected to the U.S. Congress in 1957, Rep. Dalip Singh Saund, a Democrat from California.

Excerpts From Bill Declaring August 2019 As Indian-American Heritage Month

WHEREAS, Our Nation is blessed with many citizens of Indian  descent who are distinguished by their excellence and their contributions to all fields  of endeavor; some of these esteemed residents include: 2014 Miss America and 2013 Miss New York, Nina Davuluri;  Comedian,  Aziz  Ansari; Musician,  Norah  Jones;  former  Governor  of  Louisiana, Bobby Jindal; Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella; former United  States  Ambassador  to  the United  Nations,  Nikki  Haley; the first Indian-American elected to the United States Senate, Kamala Harris; the first  Indian-American  elected to Congress, Dalip Singh Saund; the first Indian-American elected to the New York State Senate, Kevin Thomas; and the first Indian-American woman elected  to  be  a  county legislator in the State of New York, Rockland County Legislator Aney Paul; and  

WHEREAS,  Furthermore,  there  are  nearly  35,000   Indian-American doctors  practicing  in the United States including Doctor Sanjay Gupta, renowned Neurosurgeon and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery  at  Emory University  School  of  Medicine  and Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital; and  

WHEREAS,  It  is  the practice of this Legislative Body to recognizethose important months which remind us of the rich and diverse  heritage of our great State and Nation; and  

WHEREAS,  It  is  duly  fitting  that  all New Yorkers join in theseimportant celebrations of one of our State’s most  vibrant  communities;this  much  anticipated  observance and its accompanying activities willfoster greater appreciation for Indian culture and serve to promote  thespirit of cooperation that is characteristic of all citizens of New York State.




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