At its 27th annual lunar new year celebration January 23, the Asian American Coalition of Chicago honored Harinder Paul Singh, chief executive officer, Management and Information Technology Solutions, Inc; and Ashika Kalra, senior, Saint Charles East High School, Saint Charles, Illinois.
This year's gala event, around the theme 'Bridging Generations and Cultures for Progress', was hosted by the Filipino American community of Chicago. The Indian community is to host it next year.
The opening ceremonies were preceded by a political forum, in which an Asian-American panel asked political candidates probing questions. The forum was packed, given the primaries February 2.
More than 1,000 people attended the event, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Cook County state's attorney Anita Alvarez, government officers, journalists, local dignitaries, business and community leaders, and diplomats from many Asian countries.
'The purpose of this celebration is to showcase the culture and contributions of, and the harmony among Asian Americans of Chicago,' said Rajinder Singh Mago, one of the Coalition's directors. 'The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago and Sikh American Heritage Organization officials have consistently and proactively been involved in the Asian American Coalition of Chicago for the last two decades, and work as part of the planning committee no matter who is hosting it,' said Sunny Kular of the PCS board of governors.
The Asian American Coalition of Chicago Executive Committee included two Indian Americans, Prem Lalvani and Mago.
According to the 2000 census, the Asian Pacific Americans account for approximately 3.4 percent of the state's population.
The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago's Shan Punjab Di Bhangra Group performed in the entertainment segment.
The Indian-American Community Award went to Harinder Paul who served as chairman, Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago 2008-2009, while Ashika won the Indian-American Community Youth Award.