BOSTON–The South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston, known as SABA GB, held its 14th Annual Gala & Awards Dinner at the Taj Hotel in Boston last week and elected new officers and executive committee members.
Keerthi Sugumaran, the incoming 2019 SABA GB President, also announced that SABA GB was selected to serve as the host chapter for two National South Asian Bar Association’s events, including the 2019 Leadership Retreat and the 2021 SABA North America Conference.
Sugumaran also announced the 2019 Board which includes Executive Committee members Karishma Jiva Cartwright, Avinash Rao, and Hanok George; and Board Members Sahar Basaria, Deepa Desai, Mathew Eapen, Anuj Khetarpal, Rakhi Lahiri, Aditya Perakath, Zaheer Samee, and Mona Zafar.
The annual, which is SABA GB’s largest source of funding for its yearly programming, brings together the area legal community to celebrate the accomplishments of the organization, honor South Asian attorneys, and announce the incoming Board of Directors. This year’s sold-out event had over two hundred guests, making it the largest Gala in the organization’s history, SABA GB said in a statement.
The evening featured a keynote address from Attorney Neal Katyal, partner at Hogan Lovells and the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States under President Obama’s administration.
Attorney Katyal has argued more Supreme Court cases in U.S. history than any other minority attorney. Most recently, he argued before the Supreme Court as Counsel of Record for the State of Hawaii (Trump v. Hawaii) against President Trump’s travel ban on individuals from Muslim-majority countries. Against the backdrop of the travel ban, Attorney Katyal’s inspiring address explained why the U.S. Constitution matters and why he continues to fight to uphold its fundamental tenets. His remarks received a standing ovation from the audience.
In addition to Attorney Katyal’s address, the 2018 SABA GB President, Rashima Shukla, spoke about the continued growth of the organization. This year’s highlights include the largest Mentorship program to date, the first-ever Naturalization Drive, and the “Outstanding Achievement Awards” reception, which honored the accomplishments of six SABA GB members earlier this year.
In response to the recent news that a local 10-year old Muslim girl received a letter calling her a terrorist, Shukla noted that “the need for organizations like SABA to speak up and stand up in the face of racism, injustice, and policies contrary to our shared values is needed now more than ever.”
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) Chairwoman Sunila Thomas George, who was recently appointed by Governor Baker to a fifth consecutive term as an MCAD Commissioner, also delivered a meaningful address. She emphasized the continued need to combat ongoing discrimination in various arenas.
SABA GB also recognized several members, including Manisha Bhatt, Aliya Khalidi, Erica Rasquinha, and Keerthi Sugumaran, who were presented with awards for their achievements.
The New England Bhangra Club concluded the evening by entertaining guests with an energetic dance performance.
SABA GB serves as the regional voice for the concerns and opinions of South Asians in the Greater Boston community. It provides a forum for professional networking and development, legal scholarship, and education. It promotes the advancement of attorneys and law students of South Asian descent. SABA GB works with other bar associations, government agencies and community groups to achieve greater involvement in and understanding of the issues facing the South Asian community of Greater Boston.