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Apr 30, 2013 at 07:59am IST

US to honour two Indian-American women as 'champions of change'

Washington: Marking the community's heritage month this May, the White House has announced to honour 15 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women including two Indian-Americans as "champions of change" in recognition of their significant contribution to the community. The two Indian-American women to be recognised next week by the White House are Aparna Bhattacharyya from Atlanta and Pramila Jayapal from Washington state.

They would be recognised along with 13 other AAPI women at a White House event on May 6. "These fifteen women represent the strength and diversity of the AAPI community. These leaders -- in business, advocacy, philanthropy, sports, the arts, and academia -- are wonderful examples for young women across the country," said Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

"As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, we pay tribute to the many AAPI women -- from Bernice Pauahi Bishop to Congresswoman Patsy Mink to Sunita Williams -- who have shaped the story of America," added Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

US to honour two Indian-Americans as 'champions of change'

They would be recognised along with 13 other AAPI women at a White House event on May 6.

The Champions of Change programme was created as an opportunity for the White house to feature groups of Americans -- individuals, businesses and organisations -- who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. A passionate advocate for immigrant survivors of family and sexual violence and ensuring they have access to safety, justice and healing, Bhattacharyya is the Executive Director of Raksha, in Atlanta, Georgia.

She has worked to ensure that attorneys, law enforcement, and service providers are culturally competent to serve immigrant survivors. Jayapal has continued to work for advancement of immigration reforms in the state as well as nationally, and in the aftermath of 9/11 she founded the largest immigrant advocacy organisation in Washington State, OneAmerica.

She is currently the Distinguished Taconic Fellow at Center for Community Change and a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Washington Law School. Other awardees to the "Champions of Change" are Myrla Baldonado and Nancy Tom from Chicago, Minh Dang, Mia Mingus, Van Ton-Quinlivan and Catherine Eusebio from California, Atsuko Toko Fish and Karen Suyemoto from Boston, Lusiana Tuga Hansen from Alaska, Arline Loh from Delaware, Natalie Nakase from Los Angeles, Mary Frances Oneha from Hawaii and Shireen Zaman from Washington, DC.

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