Jesse Jackson Backs Indian Americans in Helping COVID-Hit India
Rev Jesse Jackson’s show of solidarity is a focal point in the ties between African-Americans and Indian Americans.
In a show of solidarity with Indians across the globe, Reverend Jesse L Jackson met members of the Indian-American community in San Francisco, California on Friday, 18 June, to mobilise resources for a COVID-ravaged India.
The event, organised by well-known Indian-American non-profit organisation Indiaspora and the the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, an international human and civil rights organisation founded by Rev Jesse L Jackson, discussed relief efforts in India during its deadly second wave, the US administration's response in sending aid to India, as well as President Biden's recent announcement of an additional 500 million vaccines for the developing nations.
Indian Americans took the opportunity to applaud the civil rights activist for his attention towards India and for pushing the Biden administration to deploy 2 million vaccine doses to India in the month of May .
An appeal was made to Reverend Jackson to help turn this 2 million to 20. All speakers emphasised the goal of 20 million vaccines in 60 days.
Rev Jackson spoke about importance of democracy, inclusiveness and unity in crisis. He also stressed on the importance of Juneteenth – a day commemorating the liberation of enslaved African Americans – and later went on to express his support for COVID-hit India.
“The pandemic is global and real. We have to realise that we have to work together and save millions of lives in India.”Rev Jesse Jackson
20 Million Doses in 60 Days
“Our request today is to have the Biden-Harris administration, through Jackson, to at least give us 20 million vaccines in the next 60 days.”Dr Prabhakar, Rainbow PUSH global ambassador and National Chairman of Multi Ethnic Physicians and President of World Federation of Tamil Nadu
Sixteen-year-old Satya Padmanabhan, Secretary of World Federation of Tamil Youth' Student Wing, spoke about the third wave of the pandemic approaching India and how it will affect his “brothers and sisters" in the country, "people his age and younger". He expressed his thanks to the government for helping India out in this times of need and at the same time emphasised that two million vaccines are not enough. "It is critical, we need more doses now, in these times. We need to urge President Biden and we need to get twenty million doses in about 60 days," he said.
What Jackson’s Support Means for India
While African Americans and Indian Americans have shared close ties over the the year dating back to India’s independence, the two communities became politically more vocal with Kamala Harris coming to power as America’s first Black and woman vice president, with roots in India.
Rev Jackson’s presence at the event is therefore very significant for the Indian-American community. With the support of Jackson, a civil rights leader who has impacted policy decisions, Indian Americans may find more solidarity as another community facing discrimination as people of colour.
“He is the name who brought all of us here together, he is the one who walked and worked with the great Martin Luther King Junior and such a privilege sir, for what you are doing for us here and in India . We are indebted to you for your efforts.”Dr. Prabhakar, National Chairman of Multi Ethnic Physicians and President of World Federation of Tamil Nadu said.
‘Stronger When We Stand Together’
“We stood up as a community, as an Indian community, when the Black Lives Matter movement happened. We were one of the first to come out and take a stand against racism, we met with pastors, businessmen, and colleges students. We also stood with our Asian brothers and sisters during the movement to stop Asian hate.”MR Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora
MR Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora, emphasised on the support the Indian American community lent to the Blacks and other Asian Americans and said that they will stand with all Americans of colour.
The Indian Diaspora community organisations will convene to voice solidarity with communities of colour, including the African American community in commemoration of Juneteenth, and the Asian American community in commemoration of the anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin on 23 June.
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