It’s not always brave deeds that make a hero. One of this year’s KQED Bay Area Local Hero recipients—Hema Kundargi—often stirs flavors and spices within the pages of this magazine. Kundargi was selected for her leadership and commitment to community service as a 17-year resident of Cupertino. She receives an award on May 17 as part of Asian Pacific Heritage Month.
Kundargi’s contributions to the Cupertino community have been manifold. Specifically, she has worked on helping the culture of India go mainstream in Cupertino. “With knowledge and awareness of ethnic culture comes understanding and respecting the differences, which ultimately leads to peace and harmony in the society,” believes Kundargi. Her cooking show, Indian Vegetarian Gourmet, gives a taste of the cuisine and culture of India. As Fine Arts Commissioner of Cupertino between 1998 and 2006, she has also worked to encourage art in the community.
As a result of her efforts, The Cupertino Chamber of Commerce decided to host the first “Indian Festival of Lights: Divali” in 2003. In addition, Kundargi has organized folk-dance events, an exhibition displaying the history of the unique costumes of India, as well as sari-draping demonstrations.
Let’s acknowledge this community hero who has worked tirelessly to build cultural bridges.