White House Recognizes Vijaya Emani

Yesterday the President presented 13 Americans with the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor which may be granted to any United States citizen who has performed “exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens.” Vijaya Emani of Strongsville, Ohio, a single mom involved in so many different ways in her community, was one of the honorees. Emani, who passed away in 2009, was recognized for speaking out against domestic violence.

C-SPAN Video of the event shows her daughters Sujata and Nirmala at the White House accepting the award on her behalf. An announcer explains that the United States honors Emani for her many contributions to the people of Cleveland and the nation–for lending her voice to help protect desi women from domestic violence, for her support of single parents and Indian heritage.

Emani’s life ended in an accident on the Ohio turnpike, but her legacy of contribution and involvement lives on. Earlier this year the Cleveland International Hall of Fame recognized her for her considerable community involvement.

Through her presidency with the Federation of India Community Associations she has opened avenue for people who struggled like her, initiating single parent support groups and opened a discussion about immigrant domestic violence. (clevelandpeople.com)  

India West writes that a victim of domestic violence helped by Emani nominated her for the award, and it mentions Emani’s role in getting a statue of Mahatma Gandhi described as the largest one in North America into the Cleveland Cultural Gardens‘ Indian Garden.

In 2008, she spoke to the Plain Dealer about domestic violence, including the experience of being shunned by many in her community after reporting her former husband to the police.

6 thoughts on “White House Recognizes Vijaya Emani

  1. Vijaya is still missed by everyone who’s ever lived in Cleveland in the last 20 years. Her stewardship of the India Community Center, the many cultural events she organized (not to forget the Bollywood Dance classes she started) and the encouragement and direction she provided IAs interested in a political career. A joyous and warm person if there ever was one. Vijaya will always be missed.

  2. On a somewhat related note, In White House events that underscored both United States’ capacity for scholastic absorption from across the world and India’s contribution to American advancement, several luminaries of Indian origin have been honored by President Obama this month amid a continuing debate about US intellectual leadership in the so-called knowledge century. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-10-22/nri-achievers/30310435_1_indian-american-president-obama-origin

  3. Well just because she suffered domestic violence doesn’t grant her authority on the problems affecting the “community” (whatever the convenient definition of that is). Maybe she was a busybody community organizer, certainly sounds like it from the Gandhi statue, so the “community” didn’t really warm to her.

    I hope she’s up for the Injunwoman of the year by the Injunwoman central politburo of Union Federation of Oppressed Women of H4 Origin. All dressed up in their gorgeous Sarees, desi wedding regalia, sexybrownskin commiserating over the oppression of the dutiful daughter by the “community”.

    Don’t bother responding, anyone with a reading of history can see the same old Fabian tricks during the Indian colonial era or, more recently, by American socialists in the Middle East.