The Multi-Ethnic Advisory Task Force [MEATF] of the United States Congressman Honorable Danny Davis [D-7th Dist.] held its glittering Congressional 7th Annual Award Gala with the theme “Congressional Salute to our Community Heroes” on Sunday October 29, 2017 at the Meadows Convention Center in Rolling Meadows, IL replete with flavorful ethnic extravaganza of music, dances and large culinary ethnic feast. Importantly, this black-tie gala featured Chicago’s most prominent awardees highlighting the commitment of Congressman Davis to recognize individuals who have exemplified excellence and distinction and for those who made significant contributions to society in ameliorating in social, cultural, charitable, intellectual, educational, medicine, academic, public service leadership, business endeavors.
The MEATF 7th Annual Congressional Awards Gala is popularly known as Community Oscars and was organized with red carpet walk for Awardees & Presenters, TV media interviews and a grand ten member Mexican Mariachi Band welcoming the guests during the reception .The Congressional salute gala was joined by a large number of guests representing business, community, civic, religious leaders and some of the most prominent recipients of the awards included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinklereceived Woman of the Year award, Dr. Bharat Barai, Renowned Oncologist received Man of the Year award, Edward M Brotonel received the Veteran of the year, Reza Deghati, National Geographic Photo-Journalist from Paris, France received the International Photographer of the Year award ,and Dr. Sriram & Dr. Sarada Sonty Lifetime Achievement award, to name a few. The most highlighted award of the evening went to Lagos State Assembly Speaker from Nigeria, Mr Obasa who received Golden Eagle Award and the Danny K Davis Peace Award was presented to Dr. Clyde Rivers, Founder President, iChange Nations, California.
The prominent presenters who introduced the awardees at the Community Oscars included 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin from Chicago, Mayor of Waukegan Sam Cunningham, Chief of Police, Maywood Valdimer Talley , State Rep Melissa Conyears-Ervin , 16th Ward Committeeman Ms Stephanie Coleman, 20th Ward CommitteemanKevin Bailey, President, International American Friendship Society, Ms. Leontine Horne, Honor Roll Sophomore of Perspective Charter School , Shimya Moorer, Peter Gariepy, Democratic Candidate for Cook County Treasurer,Mrs Santosh Kumar , Executive Director, Metropolitan Asian Family Services, Ms. Padma Mehta, Successful lady entrepreneur, First lady of MEATF and well-known singer of Chicago, Ms. Bushra Jawed, President Bushra Beauty Bar, Mr Sam Ma, Founder American Asian Association, Mr. Phil De Garro, President Buddy Car Wash., Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, FIA Trustee, Begum Chand Jamshad Nasim, MEATF Vice Chair, Assyrian Singing Legend Linda George, Arizona's Animal Rights Activist Crystal Killian ,Ukraine's Women Representative Marya Pylpiv and Ms. Galdys Loggin Folorunsho, President, USA Africa Chamber of Commerce, among others.
A grand entry of Congressman Danny Davis set the stage for an evening of fervor and gaiety as he waltzed in with his wife , Ms Vera to the beautiful strains of Stevie Wonder's Isn’t She Lovely song ,followed by Dr. Shoba Chokkalingam, Women’s Chair, MEATF taking to the podium with elegance and masterful eloquence in carrying forward the evening gala. Dr. Zenobia Sowell, Gala Czar gave a reflective invocation with Kishor Mehta, Chairman MEATF welcoming the guests. Kishor Mehta described MEATF as an organization committed to bring under one united umbrella the people of African American, Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern origin. Chairman Mehta expressed his gratitude for Congressman Davis and Dr Vijay Prabhakar for their excellent leadership and said that Congressman Davis has established a unique way of communicating and interacting by setting up advisory task force to address the wide spectrum of ethnic issues and concerns related to public policy.
Congressman Danny K Davis recognized and presented Congressional citations to the International dignitaries who had specially flown down to attend the Gala : Mr A Kriishnamohan, Vice President, National Human Rights Council of India, Captain Arun K Chakrabortty, Kargil War Hero & National Convener, National Human Rights Council of India , and the Member of Parliament From Ghana, Mr. Samuel Nartey George.
Dr. Vijay G Prabhakar, Founder-Chair of the Congressman Davis’s Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force presided over the gala presenting at the outset, an in-depth historical overview of the genesis of MEATF and how it has evolved over the last seven years gathering greater momentum and significance. Dr. Vijay G Prabhakar stridently described the awards gala as an enduring symbol of unity and empowerment of the burgeoning ethnic communities and a glorious acknowledgement of the spirit of human triumph manifested in each ethnic community. Dr. Vijay G Prabhakar thanked Mr. Clarence Beal, Dr. Sowell and Gerard Moore and especially thanked Congressman Davis for his unfailing devotion to uplift the ethnic community and the awardees for highlighting their role of significance in shaping the American society.
The elegant evening gala recognizing excellence and distinction was beautifully interspersed with colorful ethnic dance presentations, inspiring acceptance remarks bringing to the forefront the inspiring ideals of the individuals who embodied merit in various fields of human endeavors.The Latin American Singer, MS Samantha Cortez awesome rendition of the popular song : "How Great Thou Art ", got a standing ovation. Hollywood singer and songwriter, Hadiya Nelson Moorer powerful rendition of the American National Anthem in the beginning set the tone for the evening.
The following were the awardees: Light of the Year Award :Deepak Kant Vyas; Physician of The Year Award : Dr Raja Rajan Gopaldas; Outstanding Child of the Year : Master Zohair Ahmed; Outstanding Child of the Year: Master Samuel Yousefzai; Student of the Year : Miss Nikita Basu;Youth of the Year(F) : Ms. Aishwarya Katiki; Youth of the Year (M) : Syed Moiz Ali Community Activist of the Year : Ms Michelle Lura White; Inter Faith Leader of The Year : Mr Sohail Bakhsh; Humanitarian of the Year : Dr Kirit Patari; Filmmaker of the Year :Parthiban Shanmugam; Rising Star of the Year : Rep Christian L Mitchell; Journalist of The Year : Isaac Lewis; Organization of the Year :Women Association Forum; Architect of the Year : Raffi Arzoumanian; Distinguished Leadership Award : Dr Chowdury Jampala; Style Icon (Female) of the Year:Hema Potla; Style Icon (Male) of the Year : Albert Memi; Sportsperson of The Year : Ms. Dorothy Gators; Digital Marketing Professional Of the Year: Thomas B Varghese;Media Person of the Year : Biju Zachariah; Businessperson of the Year : Dr Chirinjeev Kathuria; Corporate of the Year: Ram Talluri; Dentist of the Year : Dr.Amit Kumar; Community Leadership Award : Very Rev Father Bogdan Kalynyuk; Mother of the Year : Mrs Prema Chokkalingam; Father of the Year : Babu Verma; Community Service Award (M): Sadruddin Noorani; Community Service Award (F): Ms Amy Moy-Ng; ; Entrepreneur of the Year: Iman Bambooyani; Golden Eagle Award : Michael Strotter; and International Man of the Year : S. V. Anchan , CEO SafeSea Group, New Jersey.
Clarence Beals, Awards Chair thanked the entire team of MEATF and especially recognized Jerome Athishtam, Nagendar Sripada, Lawrence Pedapatti. Vijender Doma, Daniel Ravury, Colby Smith, Mayra Hinojosa,and Dr Siva Madesan for their tireless efforts as A-V Logistics, Exhibit, Stage, Souvenir, Food Court & Reception Co- Chairs. The Community Oscars was elegantly emceed by Dr. Shoba Chokkalingam, Ms. Rani Yousefzai, Ms. Joyce Doma, Ms. Starr Gadson and Ms. Shannon Baksh. Ms Vandana Jhingan of TV Asia, Parthiban Shanmugam of FB TV, Atlanta, Saurin Thakkar of Desiworld TV and Shirley Kalvakota of Flowers TV, India were the TV anchors that interviewed the Awardees at the Red Carpet and also during the Reception.
Congressman Danny K Davis in his Closing Remarks said that he was overwhelmed by the support of all his constituents especially from the ethnic communities from 24 different countries present at the Gala. Rep. Davis said that the record turnout at this event has encouraged him and inspired him to continue serving the 7th Congressional district for many more years to come as the 7th Congressional District's Congressman and he has no plans to retire. Davis paid a special tribute to Dr Vijay Prabhakar, Founder of the Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force for his visionary and indefatigable efforts in establishing the Task Force and relentlessly nurturing the group to become a formidable force in the Sate of Illinois by showcasing the right persons from different ethnicities to lead. Today, the MULTI ETHNIC ADVISORY TASK FORCE has become a movement charged with the goal of promoting, protecting, and empowering minorities under the Chairmanship of Kishor Mehta, he added. Davis said that under Kishor Mehta's Chairmanship, MEATF is a force to reckon with and is playing a vital role in City, State and Federal arena on all fronts. Davis congratulated all the awardees and the presenters whose contributions were equally impressive, Congressman Davis concluded that he is proud to be associated with this 7 Star Community Oscars which was inclusive of all and truly represented the diversity of America