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March 11, 2014 > Unity Dinner: a tapestry of colorful cultures

Unity Dinner: a tapestry of colorful cultures

Submitted By Indo American Community Federation

Indo American Community Federation (IACF) is celebrating its 13th annual ÒUnity DinnerÓ on Friday, March 21 at India Community Center in Milpitas. The non-profit IACF was founded in 1994 as the first Indo-American organization to work with diverse groups and build partnerships with other non-profit organizations. Its mission is to promote unity by networking, collaboration, learning, volunteering, and sharing between all communities.

IACF founder Jeevan Zutshi remarks, "It was January of 1990 when reportedly 300,000 Kashmiris were driven out of Jammu and Kashmir State in northern part of India. Whoever it was, whatever was behind driving them out, these were my own, quite educated and law abiding citizens of India. They had to flee from their homes overnight just to stay alive! I spent two decades of my young age in service of this community, raising awareness of their human rights and educating lawmakers in Washington.

"In September, 2001 they pierced through the heart of my adopted country, the United States of America; it was moment of tragic experience. I patiently waited for the next month expecting a reaction from mainstream Americans to this madness. In a country over 350 million in size, just a few cases met inhumane treatment and rest of the community stayed un-reactive. This amazed me to find such a tolerant society and I resolved to celebrate diversity in the U.S. and take up issues which unite the entire community.Ó

The ÔUnity DinnerÕ came into existence as a celebration of diversity in January 2002, immediately after America was shaken up in the aftermath of 9/11. The event attracts over 350 elected officials, entrepreneurs, c-level professionals, and community leaders each year. This yearÕs event is co-sponsored by Drivers for Survivors, an organization providing free transportation and support for ambulatory cancer patients, and is themed, ÒPower of the Baby Boomer Generation: How they can give back.ÓÕ

Dave Bonoccorsi and Sebha Shah will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and M.R. Rangaswami, Managing Director at Sand Hill Group and founder of Indiaspora, will be the Keynote Speaker for the evening. Honored guests in attendance will include Congressman Mike Honda, State Controller John Chiang, State Senator Ellen Corbett, Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, and Judge Paul Grewal.

Sherry Higgs from Drivers for Survivors will be sharing a video, Judge Paul Grewal will present ÒCivic Duty: Paying Down Our Debt to One Another?Ó, State Senator Ellen Corbett will speak about state level efforts to address senior issues, State Controller John Chiang will deliver the Guest of Honor Address, and Congressman Mike Honda will speak about federal level efforts to address senior issues. IACF 2014 Leadership Awards will also be presented, including honoring Phong La as Advocate of the Year.

In addition to a sit-down dinner, the event boasts a top-notch entertainment program. Lisa Performing Arts will present Mongolian Dance: Fox Dance, Chinese Folk Dance: Beautiful Mountain Girl, Chinese Classical Dance: Poetic Love, and Chinese Dai Dance: Spring Umbrella Dance; comedian Jeff Applebaum will make a special appearance, and Jhankaar Beats & Mambo Groovin Dance Company will keep the entertainment rolling.

Money raised from the last two years as well as funds from this yearÕs event will support The Last Smile film project, currently in post-production, to raise awareness about the dangers of over-the- counter supplements. In addition, 25 percent of the eveningÕs proceeds will be donated to Drivers for Survivors.

Also of note, the California legislature has recognized Unity Day as a celebration throughout the state; it will be addressed on the Senate floor, Monday March 24.

Tickets are $85 per person, $170 per couple, or $800 for a table of ten. VIP table/preferential seating (for ten) is available for $1,000. Please register on or send a check before March 15 to IACF, 719 Boar Circle, Fremont, CA 94539. For more information on IACF and the ÒUnity Dinner,Ó visit, e-mail or call (510) 589-3702.

Unity Dinner
Friday, Mar 21
6 p.m. Ð 7 p.m.: Registration and Social Hour
7 p.m. - 9Êp.m.: Program and Leadership Awards
India Community Center
525 Los Coches St., Milpitas
(510) 589-3702
Tickets: $85 per person, $170 per couple, $800 for a table of ten

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