Women of excellence honored on Capitol Hill during International Women’s Day celebrations

Women awardees pose with Congressmen Jonathan Jackson and Danny Davis on March 6, 2024, at the Ford House Office Building in the US Capitol in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Washington DC: To commemorate International Women’s Day, the American Multi Ethnic Coalition (AMEC-USA) and the Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force (MEATF-IL) honored “20 global women of excellence” representing the United States, India, and Nigeria, during the 12th Annual Congressional Women’s Day Celebrations on March 6, 2024, in the Ford House Office Building at the US Capitol.

Welcoming the awardees to the Capitol, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi referred to Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, founder of AMEC-USA and MEATF-IL, as an “incredibly resourceful leader for the community.” He noted “If you want to go far, which is the journey that we have all embarked on which is to make sure the world is a more inclusive place, a place that’s kind, a place that treats everyone with dignity and equality, a place that takes care of our children, a place that we want to see not just for ourselves, but for all of mankind.”

While addressing awardees about women’s progress and history, Congressman Jonathan Jackson acknowledged “We have so much to be thankful for and we know that a woman can lead the great state of India, we remember the memory of Mrs. Indira Gandhi,” adding, “We remember so many other women that have led the path that have indeed showed that India is a true democracy, that you all have exalted a woman to the highest level, and now America has to catch up.”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi addresses the awardees and guests on March 6, 2024, at the Ford House Office Building in the US Capitol in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Dr. Prabhakar thanked Members of Congress Krishnamoorthi, Jackson, Danny Davis, and Shri Thanedar for their presence to honor the “extraordinary women.” He also appreciated AMEC-USA Atlanta Chapter Chair, Mustafa Ajmeri for his efforts in the selection of awardees.

While commending Washington Bureau Chief of News India Times, T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman for receiving the special Newton Devasahayam Centenary Award, Dr. Prabhakar described Jayaraman as a “distinguished journalist par excellence.” He added another special Edward & Lily Prabhakar Centenary Award was presented to CEO of Rely Services from Schaumburg, IL, Neil Khot.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Dr. Vijay Prabhakar presenting the Newton Devasahayam Centenary Award to Washington Bureau Chief of News India Times, T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, center, on March 6, 2024, at the Ford House Office Building, US Capitol, Washington DC. PHOTO: Marcus Seymour

Both special awards commemorate the birth centenary of Dr. Prabhakar’s father-in-law Devasahayam, and his parents Edward and Lily Prabhakar.

“We had seven-year-old Anaisha Ganguly give the call to action” Dr. Prabhakar said calling it an “incredible moment” and that he strongly believes “the progress of women is progress for all.”

Ganguly, a 2nd grade student at Steck Elementary School, Aurora, IL, spoke on the topic of “Inspired Inclusion.” While presenting the award to Ganguly, Congressman Davis expressed, “In unity, there is strength; in strength, there is possibility; and in possibility, there’s potentiality and our little darlin’ [Ganguly] spoke so eloquently of a peaceful co-existence.”

Her mother, Payel Roy Ganguly was among the 20 women who received the Global Women of Excellence 2024 award.

Community Activist from Detroit, Michigan, Shashi Thanedar, wife of Congressman Thanedar also received the award for her dedicated service. President & CEO of Muhammad Ali Center, Maryln Jackson, wife of Congressman Jackson, said she has been advocating for museums for the past 20 years. “Because I think they’re incredibly important institutions in every country, around the world… We know that 96 per cent of Americans believe in supporting museums, regardless of their political position,” added Jackson while receiving the award.

Another awardee, Dr. Ayesha Suneja Seymour, a clinical psychologist from Atlanta, Georgia, who works with traumatized women, underscored the importance of mental health awareness. She asserted, “When I think about how much mental health awareness has changed the lives of women all across the world, especially in this country, I think about all of the Indian [and] Pakistani South Asian women… who are actually talking about mental health and sharing their stories. I feel like we’re no longer mute. We have a voice.”

Menka Soni, community leader and philanthropist, from Seattle, Washington, thanked her mother for supporting her. She said, “I am the fifth girl born in the family and was rejected by my mother right at the birth because she felt there’s another girl in the family. But, I must say that today she takes utmost pride in raising a girl who has learned to fight her battle right from her childhood.”

Director of the Gandhi King Centre for Non-Violence in Englewood, IL, Seeta Bala, said she was proud to receive the award on behalf of the Centre. Noting Englewood is fraught with crime with hardly any basic amenities, Bala praised the efforts of Dr. Prabhakar in setting up the Centre to help the community.

National Cultural Service Coordinator of TANA, Naperville, IL, Dr. Uma Katiki, Mayor of Dolton, IL, Tiffany Henyard, Renowned Fuji Singer, Taiwo O Fatai from Nigeria, 20th President of SBMT, Dr. Vicky Yamamoto, Co-President of India Franchise Council, Seema Govil, Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University, Dr. Neeraja Gupta, Co-Founder of Jesus is Alive Ministries, Felicia Kiran, Principal of St. Thomas College, Dr. T. S. Prema, former Vice Chancellor of TNPESU, Dr. Sheila Stephen from India, were among the awardees.

The event began with a multi-ethnic music ensemble by Southern Indian Veena artist, Saraswathi Ranganathan, Spanish Flamenco Guitar artist, Carlo Basile, and Venezuelan Andes Lain Percussion artist, Fran Vielma. Northwest Indiana Bureau Chief of the GSA Global Eye Magazine, Jonathan Joseph also presented a musical tribute.



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