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COMMUNITY | News in Brief:

Appeal to Aid Leukemia Patient | New York State Bar Association Honors Doctor | Named to Board | Math Tryouts | Job Search Support Group | Holi at Stanford | SAALT Reception | Mantras at Legislatures

Appeal to Aid Leukemia Patient

Gaurav Tandon, an electronics and communication graduate of SSEC, has recently been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a form of blood cancer  He has responded well to chemotherapy, but must get a bone marrow transplant as the only possibility for a cure.

Unfortunately the HLA typing test of his siblings is negative. Doctors have therefore strongly recommended a non-related allogenic transplant. Since such transplantations are rarely performed in India, there is a high chance that he will have to go to places like Singapore, U.K. or the U.S. for treatment.

The estimated cost of the treatment in Singapore is around $250,000, in the U.K. it is about $375,000), whereas in the U.S. it is around $500,000. Doctors have advised to get the bone marrow transplant done within two months.

In order to meet the steep cost of the operation, Gaurav has decided to sell his solitary flat at Thakur Village Complex, Kandivili, Mumbai. However, this is not going to be enough. Since the amount is huge and time is limited, his family is making an appeal to relatives, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, non-acquaintances to offer donations and help him financially.

More information and regular updates are available on http://www.helpgaurav.com.

Interested readers can help in the following ways: donate money; help find a donor; pass on useful information regarding contacts; pray for his health and speedy recovery; and pass on this information to other friends as soon as possible.


New York State Bar Association Honors Doctor

Seen at the N.Y. State Bar Association Annual Meeting (l-r): Samir Chopra, Usha Chopra, NYSBA Chair of Civil Rights Fernando Bohroquez and Dr. Parveen Chopra (2009 Haywood Burns Memorial Honoree)

The New York State Bar Association, with over 76,000 members, is the largest voluntary association of attorneys in the United States founded in 1876.  This year it has decided to confer Dr. Parveen Chopra with the Haywood Burns Memorial Award for his outstanding work in civil and human rights. Chopra is the first South Asian honored in the history of the 133-year-old organization.

The award was presented by the Committee on Civil Rights chair Fernando Bohorquez Esq. at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, as part of the association's 132nd Annual Meeting. Each year a person is chosen for this award based on outstanding contributions to American civil rights.

Chopra has a long history of community service including previously serving as the first Asian Commissioner of Human Rights for 20 years and the first Indian American appointed to public office on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. He also served as commissioner of planning in Nassau County for six years. He currently serves on the Board of the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, UNYFCE, and the NYCLU in Nassau. He has previously been honored with awards of distinction from the One Hundred Black Men USA, Martin Luther King Jr. Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Chopra has been a life time educator and professor in graduate schools of business and holds a PhD, MBA, LLB and 4 other Masters degrees.

W. Haywood Burns was a longtime civil rights advocate who worked with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., He graduated from Harvard College with honors and from Yale University Law School in 1966. Burns became counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc and where he served as general counsel to Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign in 1968.


Named to Board

Raj Hameed

Raj Hameed, who is associated with the California lodging industry for nearly two decades, was sworn in as a member of the governing board of the Oakland Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The board will oversee the marketing and sales activities and programs of the OCVB for the next two years to promote tourism and business in Oakland, Calif. Raj is joining the OCVB board at a critical juncture when the City of Oakland, faced with a mounting budget crisis, has decided to curtail completely the funding of the tourism promotion arm overnight. Also, the recent images of disturbances and civil disorder following the BART agitation did not help either.

But undeterred, Raj thinks Oakland's appeal as a viable economic alternative to San Francisco with the same access to the Bay area - will be an attractive marketing point in this economically depressed climate. The OCVB is launching its own Tourism Business Improvement Development initiative to raise necessary funds to aggressively market Oakland for conventions and tourism under the guidance of the board. With multiple development projects including renovation of the Fox and Paramount Theatres, opening of the Marketplace in Jack London Square completing this year and SKS Properties and CIM ready to invest in Oakland, Raj says with confidence, "Oakland is the future, it can only get better.”


Math Tryouts

Students who enjoy solving math problems, born after Sept. 1, 1995 and attend 7th grade or lower, are invited to tryout for the USA-Silicon Valley Teams for an International Math Competition in Hong Kong in July (with five-day room and board, and local tours being paid for).

The tryouts are held on Feb. 10 (Tue) or Feb 12 (Thu) from  7:00-8:15 p.m. at Quinlan Community Center, 10185 North Stelling Road, Cupertino CA 95014.  Register online with Cupertino Parks and Recreation at http://reg4fun.cupertino.org/econnect ( Activity # 38080 for Tue; or Activity # 38081 for Thu).

For sample problems/ contest info, visit MathEdge (7246 Sharon Dr, SJ CA 95129) open house on 1/25/09 (Sun) from 1-4pm.

Further info from website: www.mathedge.org, or call at (408)725-2680.


Job Search Support Group

The Rotary Club of Cupertino is providing a free Job Search Support Group every Tuesday evening until June. In the current economic downturn this group does much more than helping people find jobs.

"We are about the people, not the paper," said Chuck Devine, former teacher, and founder of the state recognized program.   "When someone loses a job, there is shock, stress and an identity loss and this can become overwhelming.  We are more than just a how to find a job, we are about the whole person.  As we read the news, or turn on the radio we are constantly reminded of the state of the economy.  We can help build

This group has access to high-powered networking sources.  Speakers and mentors have included such dignitaries as, Don Allen, founder of the Cupertino National Bank,  Dr. Dick Henning of the Celebrity Forum, Sandy James, former mayor of Cupertino, Richard Lowenthal, of Coulomb Technologies and former mayor. Devine identifies a one-one career counseling for those who really needs the service.

Cupertino Rotary will be hosting the free Job Search Support Group every Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. until June 2009 at Monta Vista High School, Room A112, 21840 McClellan Road, Cupertino.  Parking is available in the staff parking lot.  This program is for the employed, unemployed, under employed and career changers and has received recognition from the Governor of California and the State Legislature.  You may enter and exit this free program at any time.

Chuck Devine is a native of Wisconsin who relocated to the Bay Area in 1968.  He has a B.S. in Social Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Education from the University of Missouri, and an M.A. in Counseling and Administrative Credential from the University of San Francisco


Holi at Stanford

A scene from Asha Stanford’s Holi celebrations last year.

Asha Stanford, a non-profit volunteer group catalyzing socio-economic change in India through the medium of education, plans its annual Holi, the Indian spring festival of color March 28. Located at Sandhill Fields on the Stanford campus, the event will be the Bay Area's largest Holi, expected to attract over 3500 individuals. All proceeds will benefit Asha Stanford's education projects in India.

Originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility, Holi heralds the onset of spring through a riotous celebration of color. The festival affords a moment to overcome caste, creed and economic barriers in the greeting of fellow revelers with gulal, the colored powder, often mixed with water, which Holi-goers characteristically shower upon each other. Associated with much Indian mythology and legend, Holi is celebrated throughout India in parks, town squares and other public spaces where large crowds gather to play to the accompaniment of folk music.

Asha Stanford organizes an analogous event at Stanford with much color, water, popular Bollywood and Indian dance music and food for the enjoyment of Bay Area professionals, families and students. Last year's Holi saw 3,000 people shedding inhibitions for a day of flirtatious throwing of color and dousing with water.

Asha Stanford, a local chapter of Asha for Education, seeks to make education available to all children in India by funding projects such as primary schools and teacher training workshops. The organization is volunteer-based and zero-overhead such that all proceeds from the event will be disbursed to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and schools working to provide education to some of India’s most under-privileged youth. All Asha Stanford projects are strictly secular and non-discriminatory and great priority is afforded to schools in rural and as-yet-untouched areas. Holi Tickets may be purchased online at www.ashanet.org/stanford.


SAALT Reception

South Asian Americans Leading Together Jan. 18 hosted a reception to celebrate the involvement of South Asians in the 2008 elections. Over 180 individuals from around the country joined community leaders, South Asian members of the Presidential Transition Team, and prominent individuals who played a role in mobilizing South Asians during the election for an evening reception in Washington DC.  

“South Asians around the country participated in the 2008 elections with a momentum never seen before. As we celebrate the historical significance of the election of the first African-American president in our nation's history, we also know that much work needs to be done in order to realize equality and justice for all. SAALT plans on working with South Asian community organizations and members in order to address key issues affecting our community with the new Administration," said Deepa Iyer, executive director of SAALT.

SAALT is a national non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the full and equal participation by South Asians in civic and political life. SAALT coordinates a National Coalition of South Asian Organizations representing 35 organizations in 12 regions around the country. More information is available at www.saalt.org.


Mantras at Legislatures

Four U.S. state legislatures are opening their sessions with Hindu prayers containing ancient Sanskrit shlokas, including three reportedly for the first time, and thus creating a milestone in American religious history.

Hindu priest Rajan Zed is reciting these history making prayers in Oregon House of Representatives, Colorado General Assembly, Indiana State Senate, and Oregon State Senate.

Zed, who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, is delivering these prayers from ancient Hindu scriptures at state capitols in Salem (Jan. 28 and 29), Denver (Feb. 17), and Indianapolis (Feb. 19). After reciting in Sanskrit, he will then read the English translation of the prayer. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.

Rajan Zed plans to recite from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, dated from around 1,500 BCE, besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita, both ancient Hindu scriptures. He will start and end the prayer with “Om,” the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Zed plans to say, “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya,” which roughly translates as “Lead us from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to Light, and from death to Immortality.” Reciting from Chapter three of Bhagavad-Gita, he will urge the legislators to act selflessly.s.



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