In a historic, first-of-its-kind event, Atlanta’s Mayor, Andre Dickens joined the Hindu American community in a Diwali celebration and dinner. Sponsored by CoHNA, the event brought together a veritable who’s who of the Atlanta Hindu Community along with the Consul general of India, L Ramesh Babu. It also marked the culmination of the various Hindu Heritage Month Celebrations in the state, following Governor Kemp’s early proclamation.
Addressing the gathering, the Mayor recognized the role played by the Indian community. “It is undeniable that Atlanta is stronger and better thanks to the many international communities that we have here and that individuals have made Atlanta their home. The South Asian and Indian communities make an incredible impact on Atlanta’s culture, and Atlanta’s economy.” he said.
The Mayor gave a nod to the contributions made to the Atlanta economy by Indian entrepreneurs who brought in thousands of jobs. He also referred to the special place Mahatma Gandhi had in the civil rights movement.
He concluded, “So just as Gandhi was a guiding light to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I wish you all a bright evening of festivities and a wonderful Diwali celebration.”
The Diwali dinner also featured the new consul general of India in Atlanta, Sri Ramesh Babu. After thanking the Mayor for the first-of-its-kind event to celebrate Diwali in Atlanta, he highlighted the close ties between the two countries. “We all know that India and the United States enjoy a comprehensive global strategic partnership covering almost all areas of cooperation in human endeavor. So, it is driven by shared democratic values between India and USA and convergence of all the issues. And one of the most important part of the India-US relationship is a vibrant people-to-people contact.” He went on to describe Diwali as an occasion to strengthen the contact between the various cultures that enrich Atlanta.
Vice President of CoHNA, Rajeev Menon thanked the Mayor and the Consul General. The event was attended by other local leaders including State representatives Solomon Adesanya and Mesha Mainor, Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson and former City Council president, Felicia Moore.
“This is a major milestone in the history of Atlanta” said CoHNA Board member Suresh Krishnamoorthy. “For the first time, we have recognition of an important festival for Hindu Americans from the Mayor of Atlanta. CoHNA plans to continue the outreach to political leadership in the Atlanta area and advocate for Hindu American Causes”
“Georgia and Atlanta have been at the forefront of recognizing Hindu American community, being the first to recognize Hinduphobia in the Assembly, the Governor’s proclamation of October as Hindu Heritage Month and now the Mayor’s Diwali Dinner,” said Rajeev Menon. “We expect to continue to build on this relationship going forward to forge stronger ties with the political leaders and the Hindu American diaspora”
To learn more about Diwali, the most popular Hindu festival among diaspora communities, watch this short video that’s going viral. In 2022, CoHNA worked with Google to launch Diwali.day, a special domain registered just for Diwali as part of the search company’s .day domain release campaign! Since then, CoHNA has created a campaign to bring about greater awareness of Diwali, help students and parents get Diwali as a school holiday across the US and Canada and share Diwali resources with all those curious about this deeply sacred and immensely fun festival.