Remarks at the Cary Diwali Festival

October 22, 2011
Remarks at the Cary Diwali Festival

By Congressman David Price in Cary, N.C. -

Good afternoon! It's a pleasure to be with you on this gorgeous fall day to celebrate the 11th annual Cary Diwali Festival with you! It's hard to believe we have now been gathering here in Cary to celebrate the lighting of the lamps for more than a decade!

And what a festival it's become! This looks like the largest turnout ever. Thousands of people attend this event, which has truly become one of the marquee cultural celebrations in the Triangle. I want to congratulate the volunteer leadership of Hum Sub on this tremendous success, as well as the Town of Cary for its steadfast support of this festival from the very beginning.

The success of this festival over the past decade is a testament to our area's strong and vibrant South Asian community, which has grown from a few hundred families to over 10,000 people in just three short decades.

You contribute in countless ways to the many businesses, universities, hospitals, and research facilities for which this area is known. And you are effective and valuable advocates for education, research and other policies that promote jobs and a growing economy—as well as for close and effective U.S. relationships with India and other South Asian countries.

This year's theme of "Sanskriti," or "culture transcending borders," is particularly apt in a region that has become as culturally diverse as ours. This cultural diversity has been a source of great strength for our region – and for me, as your member of Congress, it has only further served to strengthen the connection between the work I'm doing in Washington and the Triangle community.

As the co-chair of the House Democracy Partnership, I spend a decent amount of time traveling overseas to work with fellow elected legislators in emerging democracies – from Indonesia to Peru and everywhere in between – and it is wonderful to be able to come home and meet with people right here in North Carolina who have ties of family and heritage to those faraway places.

This festival is a powerful manifestation of this diversity—welcoming participants from South Asia and from the wider community as well—a testament to the hospitality you have always shown.

Diwali is also important not just as a unifying event for our community, but also because it reminds us of the values and principles that India and the United States, as the world's two largest democracies, have in common: democracy, pluralism, civil liberties, and a respect for diversity and human rights.

These shared values are reflected in a bilateral relationship that is today one of the closest and most important our country possesses, as reflected in the many reciprocal visits that have been conducted by President Obama, Prime Minister Singh, and our respective foreign ministers – including, of course, President Obama's landmark visit to India last November.

These visits are more than ceremonial: they represent a concerted effort at the highest levels to maintain and build upon the close relations our two nations have enjoyed in recent years, and to address the common challenges that face us both. As a member of the Congressional Indian Caucus, I have participated in these engagements from the parliamentary side. I was privileged to go India a decade ago to launch the ongoing partnership between our House and the Lok Sabha.

While the ties between our two governments are strong, however, the real strength of our friendship derives from the relationships that exist between our two peoples: between Indian and American business leaders and investors, between exchange students and tourists traveling in both directions, and between Indian American families and their relatives back home.

Of course, the same holds true for those of you from other South Asian countries, such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, that have a strong presence in the Triangle community.

And so in the months and years ahead, all of you have a critical role to play, both in keeping your elected representatives in Washington informed of your views and in keeping the lines of communication open with your friends and relatives back home.

In the meantime, let's all enjoy this day of celebration and gratitude. Thank you again for inviting me to participate in this opening ceremony, and Happy Diwali to you all!