Diwali Celebrated at the California State Capitol

Image of the Lieutenant Governor and others celebrating the Diwali Holiday at the State Capitol

Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis, Assemblymembers Ash Kalra, Kansen Chu, and Rebecca Bauer-Kahan celebrating the Diwali Holiday with others in the State Capitol.

State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
October 29, 2019

Hello, everyone! Thanks so much Assemblyman Kalra for that introduction. I am so honored to be here with you today to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights that symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. What an inspirational message and holiday.

And thank you for bringing this celebration to the State Capitol and for sharing the traditions of your religion and native lands with all of us. You know, in California we are proud of our diversity, which brings us strength, resilience, creativity and productivity. It makes us a center of innovation and a better, stronger democracy. It powers our economy, the fifth-largest in the world. Let’s not forget that 27 percent of us living in California are immigrants. And, like me, that one in two of us were born to a foreign-born parent.

The Indian-American community in California is a critical, indispensable and beloved piece of the fabric that makes our state so great. More Indian-Americans call California home than any other state in our country, almost 530,000 at the last census in 2010. That’s 1.42 percent of the population of our state, and the number is growing. That figure was up 46 percent from the previous census.

We may not be able to claim the largest concentrated population of Indian-Americans, that honor goes to New York, but we can claim some of the oldest communities established in the country. Places like Stockton, Yuba City, and Imperial County where immigrants from the Indian sub-continent first came in the early 1900s in search of better lives for themselves and their families.

And today we have significant Indian-American communities in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward regions. In the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region Indian-Americans make up 6.4 percent of the total population. That’s the highest percentage anywhere in the country.

I’d also like to note that the bilateral relationship between the state of California and the people of India has been close for over a century, and it continues to grow closer. I look forward to visiting India, hopefully in the coming months, to help Governor Newsom broaden and deepen this already mutually beneficial partnership. The areas for cooperation are boundless.

Thank you, again, for inviting me to be a part of your celebration. And may all of your lives and those of your loved ones be as luminous and wonderful as the lights on the lamps of Diwali.