Jill and I wish a happy Diwali to the more than one billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists celebrating this Festival of Lights in the United States, India, and around the world. As we host the official White House Diwali reception, we are honored to light the diya surrounded by members of the most diverse Administration in American history—led by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black American and South Asian American to become Vice President.
On this day, we give thanks for the optimism, courage, and empathy demonstrated by the incredible South Asian community all across America. Together, South Asian Americans reflect the soul of who we are as a nation, whether helping us emerge stronger from this pandemic, building an economy that works for everyone, or serving and protecting our communities and our country.
But, even as we celebrate this gathering of light, we know—as this community has experienced too often—that there is always darkness lurking. American history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh reality that that we have never fully lived up to it. By marking the victory of light over darkness, Diwali is a reminder that each of us has the power to bring light to the world, whether here in America or around the world.
With prayers, dances, fireworks, and sweets, may all who observe Diwali enjoy the chance to celebrate and connect, to feel the pride of community, and to remember the power in the gathering of light.