The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), during its annual Legislative Day at the US Capitol, felicitated two Indian-American lawmakers Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal for fighting against hate crimes and taking up the voices of Indian-origin people in the Congress.
"AAPI is in full support of actions being initiated by Mr Krishnamoorthi and Ms Jayapal against hate crimes. With Indian-American doctors spread all across the country, we can play an important role in this. AAPI is in full support," said Dr Sampat Shivangi, chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs.
About 30 Congressmen from both the Republican and Democratic parties attended the AAPI Legislative Day event and assured support to address issues affecting Indian-American doctors like health care and immigration reforms.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Krishnamoorthi said he is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary John Kelly to check bigotry and hate crimes against minority communities in the country.
"There is rise in bigotry, prejudice, hate crimes. I have been one of the most vocal opponents of basically what I believe to be a culture of bigotry that's inflicting even the south Asian community unfortunately," said the first-time Democratic lawmaker from Illinois.
He has led a group of over 60 lawmakers in writing a letter to the US Homeland Security Secretary, urging him to take actions to stop hate crimes.
"We have seen a state of bigotry, even in the Chicago area. I'm sure that some of you can relate to that as well, in your own communities," he said.
Later, at a reception hosted by the Indian Embassy for the AAPI doctors, Mr Krishnamoorthi said, "We stand against hate. We stand against bigotry. We stand against prejudice and we stand against discrimination on any basis."
"The one thing I would respectfully ask you to do is speak up. And speak up against hatred, bigotry, prejudice, wherever it rears its ugly head. Against any community, at any place, at any time," he said.
Appreciating AAPI's commitment to community service, Ms Jayapal said she is aware of the immigration issues being faced by the Indian-American community.
"It is important for us to push the Trump administration to strengthen protection for the communities that are affected by hate crimes," Mr Jayapal said.
"I have been told that (to go back to your country) many times and I have been here for 36 years," she said at the AAPI reception.
AAPI President Ajay Lodha also addressed the gathering on the occasion.