LEXINGTON, MA—Indian-Americans, who now account for nearly five percent population of Lexington, MA, met on Saturday to learn and discuss town governance. The meeting was organized by the Getting Involved Group, or GIG, of Lexington, in association with Indian Americans of Lexington, known as IAL.
The seminar, which was held at the Lexington Community Center, was intended to educate the Indian American community on why and how to get involved in the activities and governance of the town. It was attended by approximately 25 Indian American residents of the town and featured a key note address by Jessie Steigerwald of the Lexington School Committee, followed by a question and answer session.
Narain Bhatia, a long time Lexington resident and Town Meeting Member, traced the history of Indian Americans and GIG in Lexington.
Bhatia said that Indian Americans started arriving in Lexington in early 1970s and now make up 450 to 500 families or about 5% of town population. He highlighted the formation of GIG in 2013 in partnership with IAL and its success.
“There were only 2 town meeting members then and this year we have 12,” Bhatia said. “We have ways to go.”
He urged the Indian American community to step up and participate.
Steigerwald’s keynote address emphasized the importance of getting involved in the activities and governance of the town. She reviewed the various initiatives of the School Committee since being elected and the intricacies of policy and administration.
A key message of her talk was that the diversity that is visible in Lexington schools needs to be reflected in local government leadership and the need for Indian Americans to participate in Town Meeting, Town Committees and in particular, the School Committee.
In the Q&A session, current Town Meeting Members (TMMs), led by Dr. Dinesh Patel, explained why and how to serve the town as volunteers. The discussions addressed “why” it is imperative to give back to the town and “how” everyone can get involved despite busy schedules.
Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL) and the elected Town Meeting Members collaborated to create the Getting Involved Group (GIG). The mission of GIG is to actively reach, educate and encourage other Indian Americans to participate in the governance of the Town of Lexington and its committees.