Tag Archives: US

Indian Ambassador Talks Trade With Wisconsin Governor

Ambassador of India to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers today held a virtual meeting and discussed trade and investment as well as people-to-people relations between Wisconsin and India.

Both discussed strategies to tap the potential in the agriculture, infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors common to India and Wisconsin that would lead to win-win outcomes for both. The Ambassador briefed the Governor about the initiatives India has taken in healthcare and education and discussed collaboration in these sectors.

India and Wisconsin share a robust trade and investment relationship. The total trade between India and Wisconsin is over US $1 billion. Many Indian companies in the IT, engineering services, medical equipment, and manufacturing sectors have invested in Wisconsin.

These companies have invested close to $185 million in Wisconsin, creating over 2,460 jobs in the state. They also add value to local economies and communities through their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Similarly, Wisconsin-based companies in the automobile, electrical equipment, financial services, and technology sectors have established a strong presence in India. They include Harley Davidson, Rockwell Automation Inc., ManPower Group, etc.

The Indian community has a vibrant presence in Wisconsin, which is also an important destination for Indian students. Close to 1,500 Indian students are studying in educational institutions in Wisconsin.

India has a strong education connection with Wisconsin. The tradition of Indian studies started on the University of Wisconsin campus in the mid-1880s when a Professorship of Sanskrit was established.

Renowned biochemist Dr. Hargobind Khorana received his Nobel Prize in 1968 for research he conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was on faculty.

The Ambassador underscored the need to revive and strengthen the university-to-university linkages between India and the U.S., including in the fields of R&D and bio-health.

Ambassador Sandhu and Governor Evers agreed to further strengthen the multifaceted engagement between India and the state of Wisconsin.


This information comes from the Embassy of India based in D.C.

On Tech, Was India Naive?

The Chinese government banned Facebook in 2009. And even Mark Zuckerberg — despite having a wife of Chinese origin; learning Mandarin; and doing public relations stunts such as jogging in the smog-filled streets of Beijing to say how much he loved China — was not able to have it change its policy. Zuckerberg even went to the extent of creating new tools to censor and suppress content — to please the communists.

But the Chinese were smarter than he was. They saw no advantages in letting a foreign company dominate their technology industry. China also blocked Google, Twitter, and Netflix, and tripped up companies such as Uber. Chinese technology companies are now among the most valuable few in the world. Facebook’s Chinese competitor, Tencent, eclipsed it in market capitalization in November 2017, passing the $500-billion mark. Its social media platform, WeChat, enables bill payment, ordering taxis, and booking hotels while chatting with friends. It is so far ahead in innovation that Facebook is desperately trying to copy its features in the payment system it added to WhatsApp. Other Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, and DJI, have also raced ahead. Huawei has become a global threat with its 5G technologies and deep government links.

The protectionism that economists have long decried — which favors domestic supplies of physical goods and services — supposedly limits competition, creates monopolies, raises costs, and stifles competitiveness and productivity. But that is not a problem in the technology world. Over the Internet, knowledge, and ideas spread instantaneously. Entrepreneurs in one country can easily learn about the innovations and business models of another country and duplicate them. Technologies are advancing on exponential curves and becoming faster and cheaper, making them affordable to every country. Technology companies that don’t innovate risk going out of business because local start-ups are constantly emerging to challenge them.

Chinese technology protectionism created a fertile ground for local start-ups by eliminating the threat of foreign predators. The government selected what companies it could best control and gave them the advantage.

China actually learned some of its tactics from Silicon Valley, which doesn’t believe in free markets either. The Valley’s moguls openly tout the need to build monopolies and gain an unfair competitive advantage by dumping capital. They take pride in their position in a global economy in which money is the ultimate weapon and winners take all. If tech companies cannot copy a technology, they buy the competitor.

And then there is data, the most valuable of all technical resources. Data analysis enables everything from micro-targeting of advertisements to voter suppression and population control. Mobile applications are the greatest spying devices ever invented, monitoring not only their users’ interests but also their locations, purchasing habits, connections, political opinions, and health.

That is why the top technology companies from both East and West, the monopolists and predators, see India as the juiciest of all spoils. It has a massive market ripe for the picking, and data gold mines. India has also been naïve in its data protection policies and support for domestic innovation; it bought the old propaganda about the need for open markets.

There are some big differences, though, between the Chinese and American companies that are vying for the Indian markets. The Chinese government largely controls the actions of its companies, feeds them resources and technologies it has stolen from the West. It gives them every unfair advantage so that it can steal more and subvert democracies. Silicon Valley companies want more data so that they can sell more products. They may show bad judgment and cross ethical lines, but they aren’t playing geopolitics or endangering the sovereignty of free nations.

This is why the Indian government’s decision to ban TikTok and other Chinese companies makes sense. What was long holding Indian entrepreneurs back was the lack of Internet connectivity and mobile phones. When these became pervasive, the foreign companies stepped in. Eliminating some of that competition will give Indian entrepreneurs a chance to build world-changing technologies. These will benefit not only India but also the rest of the world, which is desperately looking for an alternative to Chinese influence and domination.

This is not to say that, without broad data and privacy protection policies, Indian technology companies won’t abuse the data that they gather. Such policies are needed as well. But the day politicians talk of breaking up companies such as Inmobi or Jio because they have become global monopolies and gained too much power will be the day of recognition that India has taken strides forward. Right now, what the country has to worry about is the dire threat from the East.

Vivek Wadhwa is a distinguished fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program of Harvard Law School and the author of The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future.

This article was republished with permission from the author and can be originally found here.

My “March” With My Mother’s Life

Self-quarantined in my bedroom in San Jose, I pen down my thoughts about a time that will be forever etched in my memories. It is a journey between India and the US during a time when borders were getting closed, schools were reinventing themselves online, social fabrics were getting challenged, and loved ones were lost to a pandemic.

On Feb 23rd, I got a call from my father that my mother is in an ICU in a hospital in Kolkata. My mother, aged 69, is a Lupus survivor and in recent years, she had her bouts of cardiac and respiratory incidents. I thought she would manage this one also. But by the first weekend of March, her condition seemed to deteriorate and I decided to travel to India. This was also the first weekend that the coronavirus was moving its way into silicon valley. People started to hoard things. I could not find a thermometer and there were long lines and fights for parking places in supermarkets. I did some essential shopping for home, bought a direct United SFO – DEL ticket, imparted a list of instructions to my 12-year-old daughter, bid goodbye to my wife, and boarded the 15 hour flight.

Corona was on the periphery of my thoughts …. I had other things to worry about. I reached Delhi in the wee hours of March 4th. India had not started screening incoming passengers yet –  not for flights coming from the US. I came out of T3 and walked 10 minutes to the newly created T2 to catch an Indigo flight to Kolkata. In the next 2 weeks, my dad and I shuttled daily to the hospital during visiting hours to catch up on my mother’s condition, which was not getting any better. Her sufferings and pains were hard on me emotionally. Corona was slowly coming to Kolkata. Masks were seen everywhere and hospitals were doing a good job of cleaning and providing sanitizers. I started avoiding elevators and used stairs to the 3rd floor ICU. I bought a mask for my father and made him wear it.

My early mornings were spent WhatsApping with my family and friends back in the USA. The changes in the Bay Area started slowly but suddenly picked up by the 2nd week of March – remote working, schools closed, 40 minutes line to check out groceries.  And, then came the “Shelter in Place” order on March 16th – an (almost) lockdown of 6 counties of the Bay Area/Silicon Valley. I was concerned about my family but was also comfortable, as my close groups of friends were supporting them in every way possible.

I lost my mother on March 17th. By then we had moved her to a different hospital and she was on Ventilator life support for the last 5 days. We lost her to a Sepsis Infection (an infection that flows in the bloodstream) caused by a bacteria “Burkholderia Cepacia”. She most likely acquired during the long ICU stay in the first hospital but it was undetected. It was too late by the time we moved her to a different hospital. I did not say the last goodbyes but I wished on her bedside that she is freed from her pains.

After the cremation, we planned for the rituals of “shraddha” on March 26th. And then the arrived on March 19th that India is stopping international flights starting March 22nd. We made the difficult decision to complete all the rituals in the next 24 hours. Surrounded by my extended family in Kolkata, we offered our last pranam to “Maa” and I hopped on the last Air India flight ( KOL – DEL – SFO ) leaving India.

Corona cut short the time I wanted to spend with my father during this difficult time. The ride from the airport to home was eerie as I started assimilating the changes that happened during my absence of 3 weeks. Empty roads, silent parks, supermarkets rationing eggs, bread, and paper products and meeting friends over hangout and zoom. I decided to quarantine myself in one room of my house to protect my dear ones as there is a slight risk of my getting the virus due to my travel in long flights and the transit area of busy airports. It has been 7 days now in my room and 7 more days to go ….

The image which is still stuck with me is related to the most prized commodity of this new world – ventilators. It is still pumping oxygen in the still body of my mother ….


Featured Image by Bharatahs and license can be found here.

“Sanitize and Self-Respond” Urge Civil Rights Leaders

In the time of Coronavirus, the state’s diverse communities are told that participation in the U.S. Census is still crucially important, aside from safe and secure

The U.S. Census self-response phase went live on March 12, and civil rights leaders of diverse ethnic groups came together to remind their communities of the many legal and privacy protections guaranteed by federal law for people to participate in the decennial count.

They also encouraged them to continue to “self-respond” by phone, online or mail and outlined the steps they will follow to continue to reach out to hard-to-count communities, addressing at the same time the health emergency of the Covid-19 as an additional challenge in Census 2020.

“We encourage our communities to sanitize and self-respond”, said Jeri Green, 2020 Census Senior Advisor for the National Urban League.

The leaders emphasized that most Americans are now able to self-respond to the Census in the privacy of their own homes without having to meet a Census taker or enumerator. For example, people can go to https://2020census.gov/ and answer nine questions (seven for every person in the household other than the one filling out the questionnaire). They can also respond by phone or in printed form.

Several organizations have mounted massive campaigns to help their communities maximize their participation, given that the data collected by the US Census is used in the distribution of resources, funding of services and political representation through drawing of districts for Congress, State Legislatures, etc.

Beth Lynk, Census counts campaign Director for The Leadership Conference Education Fund said the Census is “one of the most urgent civil rights issues facing the country and right now every person in the US has a chance to ensure a fair and complete count to all communities”.

Knowing that many in their communities have privacy concerns on the use of the data they will be sharing with the Census, the leaders reminded that the information has extraordinary levels of legal protection.

John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice pointed to the laws that govern the use of the data given to the U.S. Census Bureau as “the strongest privacy protections allowed in the United States”.

Asian Americans are among the communities where there are many undocumented immigrants and mixed-status households, which creates mistrust towards the government and could affect a complete count. Every person living in the United States by April 1 must be counted, and that includes undocumented immigrants.

“The confidentiality provision known as Title 13 prevents the government from using the Census data for any purpose other than the statistical one”, said Yang. “More importantly, the bureau and its employees are not allowed to share the data with any other government agency or officials for any reason”.

Certain information gathered by the Census cannot be published for 72 years, such as the name of the individual, business or organization, address or telephone number. Another layer of laws prohibits the use of data in any way against the individual who responded.

Yang pointed to their hotline for the Asian and Pacific Islander Community in several languages as a crucial resource to answer questions: 844-2020-API or 844-202-0204.

Other communities share the same privacy concern. This is a very important issue in black communities, said Green, of the Urban League, whose 90 affiliates are hard at work reassuring their members of the security of the data and the importance of participation.

“We are fighting to ensure that the black population, including immigrants, lose no ground, be it economic, political or in civil rights”, she emphasized. “The stakes are too high, please go to makeblackcount.org to learn more about our efforts”.

Lycia Maddox, Vice President of External Affairs for the National Congress of American Indians (which also includes Alaska Natives) said that the tribal nations across the country present a special challenge due to restrictions they have imposed on access to their lands, due to the Coronavirus.

“These communities often have no access to online and broadband to self-respond, and these new security measures make it impossible for enumerators to visit them and it delays mail delivery”, Maddox said. “We are as we speak working with different networks to come up with plans, and to increase community outreach and advertising”.

Lizette Escobedo, Census Director for the National Association of Latino and Elected Officials (NALEO) invited Latinos to call the bilingual Spanish-English hotline 877 ELCENSO or 877 352-3672 where there will be live paid operator answering questions and watching for reports of potential scammers or disinformation.

The organization has trained 3500 Census Ambassadors to assist the community in 15 states in filling out the Census and has launched two national campaigns, “Hágase contar and Hazme contar” focused on the larger Latino community and children younger than four, which experienced a large undercount in the 2010 Census.

Additional paid media campaigns will remind people that there is absolutely “NO CITIZENSHIP QUESTION” in the Census and addressing “fears of data privacy and cybersecurity”.

An additional ad campaign targeting Latina Millennials who are English-dominant was launched 2 months ago.

“Ensuring an accurate count seems like a heavier lift as every day happens folks have mentioned, we are committed to working with national local and media partners to do what we can to ensure that Latinos are heard, seen and counted this 2020 census”, she added.

In the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, organizations are revising the way they conduct the outreach to maintain community safety,

“Several grassroots organizations are moving to phone banks and text banks because the table opportunities are very restrictive right now and we want to exercise caution”, said Yang. “We are also leaving drop off literature in supermarkets, community centers, and clinics”.

Ditas Katague, from the California Complete count office, said that the state of California has spent more than all the other states combined to reach out to the hardest to count populations and ensure everyone participates.

“The investment is unprecedented, a total of 172.2 million dollars and is larger than all other states combined, we are on a league of our own”, said Katague. “We have unique challenges, a diverse population, and a large geographic size. We have 120 partners throughout the state and we are coordinating the largest mobilization of partners in our state´s history”.

The leaders reiterated that their overall goal is that every Californian understands that the Census is not only “safe and secure”, and vital for the future of all the communities. “The goal is to ensure that everyone is invited and able to participate in the 2020 Census”, said Beth Lynk of the Leadership Conference.

Pilar Marrero is a journalist and author with long experience in covering social and political issues of the Latino community in the United States. She is one of the foremost experts on immigration policy and politics in the US media world and has covered the issue extensively during her years as a reporter. Marrero is the author of the books “Killing the American Dream” and “El Despertar del Sueño Americano.

Civil Rights Groups Come Together for Census 2020

As the 2020 Census gets underway, a group of four civil rights organizations has organized telephone hotlines in a range of languages to provide information and, when needed, legal referrals for people unsure about filling out the questionnaires.

The once-every-10-years census provides the government with information it uses to annually distribute hundreds of billions of tax dollars’ worth of services and guide the creation and realignment of political boundaries for allocating representation in Congress, the Electoral College and local governments across the United States.

The census, included in the original 18th century wording of the U.S. constitution, is the country’s largest peacetime project and participation is required by law. It invariably falls short of its mission to count absolutely everyone, no matter if they’re citizens, English speakers, homeowners, renters or homeless.

But the census is intended and widely understood to be risk-free and a benefit to all who participate, so the four organizations: the Arab American Institute; Asian Americans Advancing Justice; the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights; and NALEO (the National Association of Latino Elected Officials), are stepping up to provide confidential information to the communities they serve. 

The telephone hotlines will operate throughout the census data collection period. Census questionnaires have already been distributed to some communities, but the effort begins in earnest in mid-March and April. Follow-up operations to include those who have not responded to initial Census Bureau outreach efforts will continue through July. The hotlines will operate throughout that entire time.

Callers who speak Arabic are invited to call 833 333-6864, or 844-3DDOUNI (“Count me,” in Arabic). This line is staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST already. As of March 1, the hours will be extended to 9 p.m. EST. The Arab American Institute promises to return voicemail messages within 24 hours.

Those whose preferred language is Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Urdu, Hindi or Bengali/Bangla can call (844) 202-0274, or (844) 2020-API. This line is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST through the end of July, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice promises to return all voice mail messages within 24-48 hours.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights will operate its hotline (800) 268-6820, also 888-Count20, through the end of July. It’s working now from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST and beginning March 2 will remain staffed until 9 p.m. EST. The organization promises to return voice mail messages left at other times on the following business day.

NALEO’s line, for Spanish speakers, (877) 352-3676 or 877-EL-CENSO, is operating from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST. Voice mail messages will be responded to on the next business day after they are received.

The hotlines will all also field calls from English-language speakers.

The organizations expect to field a range of calls about the census from basic information requests to legal questions or concerns about incidents that require follow-up.

Together with the Leadership Conference, the Brennan Center and MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund), the groups have also organized a network of legal specialists across the country to respond to questions ranging from basic obligations regarding the census to concerns about threats to disrupt census participation.

The organizations have previously performed hotline services to protect election integrity.

One widespread concern about the 2020 Census is whether respondents can trust that personal information they provide will truly be kept confidential, as promised and required by law. Applicable laws include some of the strictest confidentiality regulations anywhere in government, such as fines of up to $250,000 and years of incarceration for anyone who shares people’s personal information with other government agencies such as police, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) or the Border Patrol, to name just a few examples.

But in case those laws and promises aren’t enough, the organizations, with MALDEF leading the way, have also developed a census confidentiality protection pledge. Intended to boost confidence among so-called hard-to-count populations, it commits a coalition of individuals and organizations to using their power and influence to address, deter and end any breaches of census data confidentiality.

The Census Bureau, as part of its own efforts to overcome language barriers, has prepared a series of 27 instructional videos about the census. They range from nearly 10 to almost 20 minutes in length in each of the following languages: Amharic12:47, Arabic13:53, Armenian11:29,  Bengali13:19, simplified Cantonese9:51, traditional Cantonese9:52, English9:25, Farsi14:21, French11:02, German12:29, Greek11:57, Haitian Creole10:37, Hindi11:55, Italian10:59, Japanese11:39, Korean11:13, simplified Mandarin10:01, traditional Mandarin10:02, Polish13:34, Portuguese10:45, Russian11:58, Somali14:38, Spanish11:43, Tagalog12:10, Thai, Ukrainian12:50 and Vietnamese10:33.

 

What Will The 2020 Census Ask you?

We’ve had years of worry about the confidentiality of people’s census responses, what purposes those responses would be used for, plus the possibility – now abandoned – of being asked about citizenship status. With the 2020 census now officially under way, here’s a look at what those census questionnaires will actually ask us.

There are nine questions on the primary census form (https://tinyurl.com/2020censusquestionnaire). The first asks how many people live in the household. For each of those people, there’s a of seven-question second form. Here are all the questions, starting with the nine asked of every household:

  • “How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020?”
  • “Were there any additional people staying here on April 1 that you did not include in Question 1?”

This question offers five possible responses, in the form of checkboxes, to describe such additional people as children, relatives, live-in babysitters, guests or, in the fifth check-box, “no additional people.”

  • “Is this house, apartment or mobile home –”

Here, the check-boxes offer four ways to complete the sentence, ranging from “owned by a resident via a mortgage or a loan,” to owned outright, rented or occupied rent-free.

  • “What is your telephone number?”

The questionnaire states that you would only be contacted “if needed for official Census Bureau business.”

  • The fifth question is specifically directed to the person who pays the rent or owns the residence, and it asks for that person’s first and last names and middle initial. From then on, this person is referred to as “Person 1.”
  •  “What is Person 1’s sex?”

There are two choices given: male and female.

  • Question 7 asks for Person 1’s age and date of birth.
  • Question 8 asks if Person 1 is of “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?”

The question offers five check-boxes for responding. The first is “No.” The second is Mexican, Mexican-American or Chicano. The third is Puerto Rican, the fourth is Cuban and the fifth “Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” This option is followed by space to write in a more specific description, such as “Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian, Guatemalan, Spaniard, Ecuadorian, etc.”

The instructions for this question say, “for this census, Hispanic origins are not races,” and ask respondents, after answering this question, to continue to the next and final question.

  • “What is Person 1’s race?”

Here, respondents have 15 check-boxes to choose from, along with five places where they can write in a specific origin.

For instance, after the first check-box, for “white,” respondents are asked to write whether they are, “for example, German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, etc.”

The next check-box, for “Black of African Am.” also has a write-in line. Its examples of possible responses are: “African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Somali, etc.”

The third check box is for American Indian or Alaska Native and asks respondents here to print the name of “enrolled or principle tribe(s)” and gives as examples “Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional  Government, Nome Eskimo community, etc.”

After this are 11 more check boxes, for “Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Other Asian,  Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Other Pacific Islander.”

Beneath is a space in which to “Print, for example, Pakistani, Cambodian, Hmong, etc.” if you’ve checked the box for “Other Asian.” Or, if you’ve checked the “Other Pacific Islander” box, to specify “for example, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese, etc.”

Finally, there’s one more check box, for “Some other race,” with space to write in a specific “race or origin.”

For those households with more than one person, there is a separate, seven-question form for each additional household member. Most of these questions are the same ones Person 1 will have answered, described above, starting with name.

But Question 2, instead of asking if anyone else lives in the household, inquires if “Person 2” usually lives or stays somewhere else. There are nine possible responses offered here, from “no” to eight “yes” options: at college, in the military, for work, in a nursing home, with a relative, at a second or seasonal residence, incarcerated or “for another reason.”

Question 3 asks how Person 2 is related to Person 1. It offers 16 possibilities, from spouse or partner, with separate boxes for same-sex spouses or partners, to a variety of family relationships, such as son/daughter, adopted son/daughter, stepson/daughter, sibling, parent, grandchild, parent- son- or daughter-in-law, “other relative,” roommate, foster child or “other non-relative.”

The remaining four questions are the same as the last four posed to Person 1 about gender, age/birthday, Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin and ethnicity.

Governments and community organizations are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to collect this information this year, and trillions of tax dollars will be distributed over the next decade based on what this data reveals about how many people live where and what their needs are.

And that’s not all – census data determines how many members of congress each state gets and how many electoral college votes. Businesses rely on census data, too, to decide where to invest. The list goes on and on.

Census data that identifies you personally is protected by the government’s most strict confidentiality rules — it’s kept sealed for 72 years.

 

 

 

Fears of Undercounting People of Color Rise Before 2020 Census

By Michael J. Fitzgerald, Richmond Pulse/Ethnic Media Services

Combatting a predicted major undercounting of people of color in the 2020 U.S. Census was the focus of a national roundtable discussion, featuring key representatives of civil rights and voting rights organizations, earlier this month.

In sometimes heated presentations, representatives of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the Urban Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) and the New York Immigration Coalition hammered home how important a full count will be.

“We are not going to stand by and be undercounted,” said Jeri Green of the Urban Institute, which on June 4 released a study asserting that the upcoming census is likely to be the least accurate since 1990, or possibly worse, and that among the people likely to be overlooked will be 1.7 million kids younger than age 5. It expects California to have the highest percentage of people not counted, followed by Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia, New York and Florida.

Part of the concern expressed repeatedly in the national teleconference was the possibility that the 2020 Census will include a question inquiring about a person’s citizenship status. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to soon issue its decision on whether to allow the question. Three federal courts have ruled against allowing the change to census procedures, but it is widely feared that the Supreme Court may overturn those rulings.

“Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will not idly stand by as others attempt to undermine the progress of the Latino community and suppress the count of the nation’s second largest population group,” NALEO CEO Arturo Vargas said. “We will continue to fight for a just Census 2020 and a full and accurate count of Latinos and immigrants.”

“But even if it doesn’t get put on the census, just the discussion of it has already done harm,” John Yang of the AAAJ said.

 The harm, Yang explained, is that people who are already skittish about government in general  or their citizenship status  are less likely to fill out any census form, thinking it might put them at risk.

 Steven Choi of the New York Immigration Coalition said that the most effective strategy will be to have as much person-to-person contact with individuals to convince them to fill out the census because of its importance in determining federal funds and national representation.

 “Clearly the Trump administration effort (wanting the citizenship question included on census forms) strikes hardest at immigrant-rich states,” he said.

 In New York, the state Congressional delegation is bracing for a likely loss of two seats.

 “And in terms of money and power, for every person lost  or not counted  it’s estimated to cost the state about $3,000 per person,” Choi said.

 That’s money lost to all manner of public spending.

 This year’s census will also be the first to extensively use the internet and online data gathering, in favor of deploying the traditional door-to-door census takers.  The Census Bureau is planning to send out an electronic request to 80% of U.S. households, expecting a response rate of about 45%. Non-responsive households will eventually be mailed a paper census form to fill out, either in English or Spanish. Online questionnaires will have more languages to choose from

 Eventually, if no response is forthcoming, a Census Bureau field worker will be dispatched to contact the household in person or via telephone.

 The consensus among the teleconference panelists was that if the citizenship question is included in the census, people should answer it and not leave it blank.

 “You really must answer,” Choi said. “There are legal ramifications.”

 Panel moderator Beth Lynk, census counts campaign director for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said her organization is worried about an undercount of as high as 4 million minorities with a possible concomitant over count of Caucasians.

“Everyone relies on census data,” she said.

 Sulma Arias of FIRM said her organization is already holding community meetings, engaging people of color online, and getting the word out about how important this census will be.

 “This is an attack on our rights to fair representation,” she said. “We refuse to be erased.”

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World

May 16–October 6

 

This story was sent to us and Co-organized by San José Museum of Art (SJMA) and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA)

Organized by Lauren Schell Dickens, curator, SJMA and Jodi Throckmorton, curator, PAFA


Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World is the first mid-career retrospective of the artist’s work. The exhibition presents almost twenty years of Banerjee’s large-scale installations, sculptures, and paintings—including a re-creation of her work from the 2000 Whitney Biennial; sculptures featured in the 2017 Venice Biennale; and recent work for the Prospect 4 New Orleans biennial.

Rina Banerjee (b. 1963 in Calcutta, India) grew up in London and eventually moved to New York. While the visual culture that she experienced as a child in India greatly influences her aesthetic,  her immigration to the UK and her love of the diverse culture of her current home, New York City, form the core of her practice. Banerjee creates vivid sculptures and installations made from materials sourced throughout the world. She is a voracious gatherer of objects—in a single sculpture one can find African tribal jewelry, colorful feathers, light bulbs, Murano glass, and South Asian antiques in conflict and conversation with one another. These sensuous assemblages reverberate with bright colors and surprising textures present simultaneously as familiar and unfamiliar.

Amidst a progressively factious turn toward nativist politics in the United States, Banerjee relentlessly creates work that reflects the splintered experience of identity, tradition, and culture often prevalent in diasporic communities. Significantly, her career as an artist, beginning in the late 1990s, parallels the expansion of the global art world, the Internet, and the repeated rise and fall of “identity politics” in art.  Though Banerjee is one of the most important artists of the post-colonial Indian diaspora living in the United States, and her work has consistently gained visibility internationally (especially in Asia and Europe), she remains relatively unknown to U.S. museum audiences.

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World focuses on four interdependent themes in Banerjee’s work that coincide with important issues of our time: immigration and identity; the lasting effects of colonialism and its relationship to globalization; feminism; and climate change.

Catalogue

A full-color, ca. 160-page catalogue was published in conjunction with the exhibition and available for purchase at SJMA’s Shop.

Touring schedule

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, October 27, 2018—April 7, 2019

San José Museum of Art, May 17—September 29, 2019

Palm Springs Museum of Art, CA Spring 2020 (TBC)

Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN, August 6—October 25, 2020 (TBC)

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, NC  (TBC)

Learn more about this wonderful exhibition here:  https://sjmusart.org/exhibition/rina-banerjee-make-me-summary-world

This Article was provided to India Currents by the San José Museum of Art

 

US-India West Coast Summit

The US and India represent two large democracies in the world, both facing rapid, seismic shifts in economic policy and trade. A strong partnership bodes well for both countries, promoting a synergy that addresses many fields of common interest.

The first West Coast summit of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) in Palo Alto, California was a meeting of minds to discuss how to accomplish exactly that – what needs to change or evolve to strengthen the bond was the core question that was addressed in various ways. It was chaired by none other than John Chambers, ex-CEO of networking giant Cisco and winner of India’s prestigious civilian award, the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to the India-US trade relationship.

Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of USISPF opened the summit and welcomed John Chambers to the stage. Throughout his speech, Mr. Chambers expressed a deep admiration for India and Narendra Modi, the current Indian Prime Minister. In his own words, “India is positioned strong for the next 25 years,” and has a future as “one of the leading startup nations of the world.”

Escorted into the event with much fanfare, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice graced the crowd with a luminous keynote speech. She spoke about economic affairs, world politics, foreign trade, and a subject close to her heart- education. “At heart, I am a professor and like helping students reach their whole potential,” she said, alluding to her current teaching responsibilities at Stanford University. She thinks the possibilities for the India-US relationship are endless and can eventually contribute to world stability. According to her, democracy is messy as opposed to authoritarianism but will ultimately be more effective in bringing about desired change in the world.

Participating in the technology and investment panel were: Praveen Akkiraju, Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers; Shashin Shah, Founder and CIO, Think Investments; Nandita Bakhshi, President and CEO, Bank of the West; and Moderator: Anis Uzzaman, General Partner and CEO, Fenox Venture Capital.

Praveen Akkiraju stated that currently India has a base of talent that understands what the world wants and is able to deliver it. Nandita Bakshi, VP of Bank of the West spoke about the digitization of banks and how fintech has created an environment wherein every bank has to fight for customers.

The India Possibility in the Current International Trade Environment panel included John Kern, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Operations, Cisco, Mike Train, President, Emerson, Dow Wilson, President and CEO, Varian Medical Systems, Richard Nash, Vice President, Head of Government Relations, PayPal, and the moderator was Kailesh Karavadra, Managing Partner, West Region Growth Markets, Ernst & Young LLP. The panel addressed current trade and regulatory concerns. “Tariffs do not build jobs. Trade does,” declared Cisco’s SVP John Kern. CEO Dow Wilson of Varian Medical Systems commented that regulatory burden is high in India and needs to be addressed. “it makes some wonder about the long term.”

Ambassador of India to the United States, Harsh V. Shingra spoke about the diverse issues that India was wrestling with in the geo-political and domestic arenas. Mr. Shingra said, “The US-India relationship is multifaceted, and we need to not let minor roadblocks distract us from our larger goals.”

Overall, the first West Coast summit by USISPF highlighted the key issues in current India-U.S. economic relations with speakers articulating key strategies to continue to build bridges and strengthen the relationship between the two countries. It now may be time to work towards the “endless possibilities” that Condeleezza Rice spoke about.

Vasudha Badri-Paul lives in the Bay area with her family and dog. She is a technology marketing professional who is passionate about good ideas and the creative arts. You can often spot her hiking in the hills or helping out at a nonprofit organization.

 

Why EB-5 is the Best Solution for Your H-1B Woes

In the United States, workers from India comprise the largest number of H-1B professionals.

But, in the wake of US policy changes on immigration, Indians have been hit the hardest, putting their eligibility and professional dreams at severe risk.

In a recent report from the National Foundation for American Policy it was shown that in 2017 72% of the H-1B petitions denied were for professionals from India. What’s larger, however, is the emotional hardships families have had to bear from these denials. Ashish Kumar, a software engineer from Indore, has a particularly apt story. In 2014, Ashish and his family moved to upstate New York from India for work. Four years later, his family had completely acclimatized to America, with hopes of permanent residency. His son, who upon arrival, barely spoke English, now spoke indistinguishably from other American children. Even more, his wife, six months pregnant, had the hope of raising another child in America. In early September, Ashish and his family received the shocking news that their H-1B had not been renewed. They were given two weeks to pack all their belongings and relocate back to India.

Ashish’s plight is shared with many other families. These families become completely immersed in American culture. Some even have American born children. For them, America is home.  

While some professionals may be eligible for employment based green cards (EB-2 and EB-3), these visas can be restrictive. Wait times are severely backlogged from 10 to 15 years. To make matters worse, employer sponsorship does not assure green card approval and prevents the candidate from moving cities.

With such massive uncertainty, is there a better solution?

The EB-5 Investor Visa is one such opportunity, giving Indian citizens the chance to earn permanent residency through capital investment. Unlike EB-2 and EB-3, there is no severe backlog. Even more, EB-5 does not:

  • Require employer sponsorship
  • Depend on a lottery system
  • Have long wait times for family sponsorship

Instead, it gives Indian citizens a chance to build a future by working and living anywhere in the US, with the added opportunity to earn US citizenship.

On, November 9th at 2PM EST US Freedom Capital will be hosting a webinar to discuss the ins and outs of the EB-5 Investor Visa. CIO, David Gunderson, will discuss the process, timelines, and successes of our own H-1B clients who have received their green cards in as little as 14 months. In addition, we will have a Q&A session after the webinar to discuss any specific questions/comments from the audience.

To register please click here https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8199200439262243339

 

About US Freedom Capital

US Freedom Capital is a global investment firm committed to the long-term growth and security of its investors’ assets. Our investment projects are thoughtfully designed for the EB-5 Program and to create diversified, high-yield returns.
The US Freedom Capital team combines decades of experience in commercial US real estate, immigration, and investment management. Our industry experts have over $3 billion in commercial real estate experience, and include the three former highest-ranking officials at US Immigration (USCIS).