Good morning.

As California moves toward reopening, one other disaster is unfolding midway throughout the globe. India recorded about 410,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday, a new world excessive, and three,980 deaths, the very best nationwide every day demise toll in any nation exterior of the United States. Experts consider the true variety of instances and deaths is way increased.

As the disaster has worsened, many Indian-Americans are struggling to deal with the trauma unfolding again residence, juxtaposed with a vaccination drive that has reached practically half of Americans and anticipation of a “return to normalcy” by July 4. Many are watching mates and loved ones pass away from afar, unable to travel to see grieving family, whereas witnessing the breakdown of India’s medical system.

“I don’t know an Indian-American family in this country who hasn’t been affected in terms of knowing someone who has either died or been very, very sick,” Representative Ro Khanna, the congressman for California’s 17th district, mentioned in a telephone interview this week. “The scale of this is unimaginable. It’s not just affecting poor people or people in villages, it’s affecting the rich, it’s affecting the middle class, it’s affecting everyone.”

There are greater than 712,000 Californians of Indian descent, according to AAPI Data, which compiled data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In current days, many Indian-Americans have turned to fund-raising for oxygen and different essential provides for these in India, and pleading with state and federal officers to do extra to shut the vaccine hole. On social media, a number of have labored to gather lists of resources, whether or not that features places to donate to grass-roots organizations and even translations of health care recommendations.

Khanna credit the work of legislators, entrepreneurs and everybody who has been elevating consciousness for transferring the Biden administration to behave on making vaccines extra obtainable to India and the remainder of the world. First got here the discharge of tens of millions of unused AstraZeneca vaccine doses. Then on Tuesday, the administration came out in favor of waiving mental property protections for coronavirus vaccines. The transfer would enable nations akin to India to spice up manufacturing and improve vaccine entry.

“It’s really been heartening to see the Indian-American community come together and put aside any difference of politics or religion, and really just say: How do we help in this humanitarian situation?” Khanna mentioned. The congressman mentioned he had been in contact with constituents in Silicon Valley, listening to their issues and pushing the non-public sector to assist.

When the disaster in India started, Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, pledged $10 million. Google has additionally pledged $18 million to offer oxygen and different provides, whereas its founder, Sundar Pichai, has personally pledged $700,000 towards aid efforts.

Khanna emphasised, nonetheless, that the help isn’t simply coming from large firms. “I’ve heard stories of ordinary citizens raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to get oxygen there, to help get equipment there, to get medical beds there,” he mentioned. “It’s really just touching everybody.”

Several group organizations throughout California have additionally stepped as much as assist susceptible and marginalized teams. Parivar Bay Area is partnering with native grass-roots organizations in India to assist primary requirements for transgender folks affected by the disaster. An preliminary GoFundMe page raised $10,000 in 48 hours. Anjali Rimi, who began Parivar in 2018 and identifies as trans, mentioned the disaster hit residence for her — her dad and mom had been hospitalized in India due to Covid-19 final yr.

In the tip, Khanna mentioned he had been moved by the way in which the Indian-American group, a lot of whom are immigrants removed from their very own households, has embraced and supported each other throughout this time. “I think this will be a defining moment for the Indian-American identity, bringing us closer as a community,” he mentioned. “I’m just very proud.”

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The lotus flower, blooming out of muddy waters, has lengthy been a image of rising above struggling. Dozens of Buddhist monastics hope the flower can signify therapeutic amid the trauma of racial violence within the United States. On Tuesday, they got here collectively for a nationwide mourning ceremony in Los Angeles the place they lit candles and honored ancestors. They additionally used skinny paintbrushes to fill the fractures of a ceramic lotus with liquid gold leaf, following the Japanese inventive apply of kintsugi.

“Our liberation is actually not about transcending or distancing ourselves from trauma or pain and suffering, but it is to acknowledge how we can transform ourselves, our communities, our nation, our world, from all that pain,” mentioned Duncan Ryuken Williams, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and the chair of the University of Southern California’s School of Religion.


California Today goes reside at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you need to see: [email protected]. Were you forwarded this e-mail? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.

Priya Arora was born and raised within the San Fernando Valley, and graduated from U.C. Irvine. They are at present a social media editor on the Audience crew, and in addition write about South Asian popular culture for The Times.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.





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