Growing Influence, Big Plans Indo-American Group: A Dinner Friday Will Draw Big Names To Fremont.
Published: Sunday, April 4, 1999 BY DENNIS AKIZUKI, Mercury News Staff Writer
Attorney General Bill Lockyer is scheduled to attend. So is state Sen. Liz Figueroa, and Assemblyman John Dutra, and Milpitas Mayor Henry Manayan.
The high-powered guest list for a dinner Friday in the Fremont hills is an obvious sign that the Indo-American Community Federation is an organization with clout, even though most local residents have never heard of the non-profit group.
But the federation has more than political influence, it has ambitious goals. Members dream about building an Indo-American community center in Fremont and dealing with the gang problem within their community. They want to become ”part and parcel” of mainstream America. ”We cannot make our own island here, we cannot just feel we are financially successful, academically successful and we are successful in our businesses,” said Jeevan Zutshi, a civil engineer and president of the 3 year old federation. ”No, that is not enough. You have do so something. You have to create opportunities (for Indo-Americans) to get out into the community and get involved in the mainstream.”
An estimated 65,000 Indo-Americans live in the Bay Area. The1990 census counted about 5,500 in Fremont — a number that has almost certainly grown over the last decade. Zutshi said the purpose of the dinner is to celebrate the victories of the local elected officials last year and give the business community and Indo-Americans an opportunity to meet with them and find out about their jobs.
Among those also expected to attend the dinner at Zutshi’s house are Fremont Mayor Gus Morrison, BART Director Tom Blalock, Fremont school board member AnnaMuh, Fremont Councilwoman Judy Zlatnik and Fremont City Manager Jan Perkins. ”I’m pleased to see them get involved,” Zlatnik said. ”I think it’s really important for groups with such large populations in the community to become part of the political life of the city.”