LEXINGTON, MA– Indian-Americans of Lexington, who account for six percent of the town’s population and their children represent approximately 12 percent of school enrollment, are organizing a free Civic Engagement Seminar on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Lexington Community Center in Lexington, MA.
The event is organized by Getting Involved Group, known as GIG, which consists of 13 Indian Americans who are elected members in town government of Lexington.
“The main goal of the event is to inform, encourage and engage with Indian Americans who would like to give back through civic participation,” said Vineeta Kumar, one of the organizers of the Civic Engagement Seminar and a member of the Lexington town government.
In addition to Kumar, other members of GIG and elected town members are: Narain Bhatia, Dinesh Patel, Aneesha Karody, Anil Ahuja, Anoop Garg, Hema Bhatt, Pam Joshi, Ravish Kumar, Rita Pandey, Sanjay Padaki, Syed Ali Rizvi and Vikas Kinger.
“This is an information sharing session where people can hear about town government, why they should get involved and how they can do so,” Kumar said. “Those interested in running for a position in 2018 can also sign up to schedule focused planning sessions with the GIG team.”
The event will be held from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm on Dce. 2, 2017, at Lexington Community Center located at 39 Marrett Road in Lexington. Keynote speaker at the event is Suzie Barry, Chairman of the Board of Selectman of Lexington. Other elected town officials will be present, including Indian American Town Meeting Members.
Kumar said that there will be a panel discussion with Indian American Town Meeting Members on why they ran, process, time commitment and their experience. It is a free event and refreshments will be served.
“We have a very talented community with diverse skills, many of whom are looking for ways to participate and contribute,” said Kumar. “This is a great event for those individuals to learn about the process and meet those who have traversed that journey.”
Kumar said that this particular event is focused on Lexington and how Lexington town government works, but open to people from other towns.
“Considering the success we have found in our town, GIG will be happy to share their learnings with other towns,” Kumar said.
GIG consists of 13 Indian Americans who are elected members in town government. Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL) and the elected Town Meeting Members collaborated to create GIG in 2014 with the intent of encouraging and supporting civic participation by Indian Americans in Lexington. The group’s objective is to provide a platform and support system for Lexington Indian Americans to help increase their participation in town government and committees.
“All Indian Americans of Lexington must attend this event but especially those who are passionate about giving back to the community, those who are looking for ways to engage with the town and those who aspire to run for elected office,” Kumar said.
She said the Indian American community has grown in Lexington and accounts for about six percent of the population. Indian American children represent approximately 12 percent of school enrollment.
“With our increasing demographic presence, the town leaders are also encouraging participation to represent this diversity in town governance,” Kumar said.
In 2015, six Indian Americans successfully ran and were elected as Town Meeting Members (TMM), in 2016, six additional Indian Americans were elected to the town meeting, followed by six in 2017. As of now, there are 13 Indian Americans in Lexington Town Meeting, with some having dropped out.
“We would like to build on this momentum going into 2018 and continue our community’s participation in town government,” Kumar said. “Giving back is one of the many common traits between American and Indian societies and civic participation is an effective way to give back to the community. Therefore we are requesting Indian Americans to participate in this free event and take advantage of the platform GIG provides.”
Kumar is a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 3 in Lexington Town government. Professionally, in a career spanning 24 years in the Advisory industry, Kumar has led key business initiatives at companies like Headstrong and Wipro, managing multi-million dollar operations globally and working with F500 clients. She is currently working as a Business Growth Advisor in the Advanced Technology and Fintech space.
In 2016, Kumar decided to scale back on work and commit more time to the community through volunteering and civic involvement. She is passionate about educational excellence and volunteers in youth related initiatives like SIFMA Foundation’s Invest It Forward™ and Lexington Education Foundation. She is also an Advisor in Boston Business Women, a platform to enable, uplift and empower its members, consisting of twelve thousand entrepreneurial and professional women.