Jill and I wish a happy Diwali to the more than one billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists who celebrate this Festival of Lights in the United States, India and around the world. As we host the official Diwali reception at the White House, we are honored to light the diya surrounded by members of the most diverse administration in American history — led by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black and South Asian American woman to serve as vice president.
On this day, we give thanks for the optimism, courage and empathy shown by the incredible South Asian community across America. Together, South Asian Americans reflect the soul of who we are as a nation, whether it’s helping us emerge stronger from this pandemic, building an economy that works for all, or serving and protecting our communities and our country.
But even as we celebrate this gathering of light, we know—as this community has experienced all too often—that darkness always lurks. American history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh reality that we have never fully lived up to. Celebrating the victory of light over darkness, Diwali is a reminder that each of us has the power to bring light to the world, whether here in America or around the world.
With prayers, dances, fireworks and sweets, may all who observe Diwali enjoy the opportunity to celebrate and connect, to feel community pride and to remember the power of gathering light.