On October 21, 2019, members of the Senate and House of Representatives and dozens of prominent Indian-Americans gathered in the national historic landmark of Pennsylvania State Capitol to celebrate the festival of Diwali. The celebrations took place under the grand central rotunda with an annakut, an offering of vegetarian delicacies to God. Known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali represents the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance
The event was organized and hosted by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and was sponsored by State Senator Maria Collett (District 12) and co-sponsored by State Rep Stephens (District 151), State Rep Malagari (District 53) and State Rep Polinchock (District 144).
Member of the BAPS congregation opened the morning Senate session with a prayer for personal enlightenment, harmony, and peace in the world. Senator Collett personally recognized the attending BAPS volunteers and shared information about BAPS and BAPS Charities’ local communities with the attendees. In parallel, Speaker of the House acknowledged the festival of Diwali and recognized key members of BAPS on the house floor.
Throughout the afternoon, legislators and representatives lighted a Diya to participate in the celebration of Diwali. Lt. Governor John Fetterman highlighted the need for celebrating diversity while other leaders highlighted the importance of Diwali for the Indian American community and their increasing contributions. Leaders also highlighted contributions by BAPS members in their respective communities. State legislators and representatives wished the gathering a very Happy Diwali and a Happy New Year. On behalf of the Pennsylvania government, they expressed deep gratitude to BAPS and the Indian community at large.
The following members of the legislature attended the event and/or spoke at the event.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman
State Senator Maria Collett (District 12)
State Senator Steve Santarsiero (District 10)
State Senator Andrew Dinniman (District 19)
State Representative Todd Stephens (District 151)
State Representative Steve Malagari (District 53)
State Representative Todd Polinchock (District 144)
State Representative Gene DiGirolamo (District 18)
State Representative Wendy Ullman (District 143)
State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (District 121)
State Representative Marcy Toepel (District 147)
State Representative Tina Davis (District 141)
State Representative Perry Warren (District 31)
State Representative Patty Kim (District 103)
State Representative Meghan Schroeder (District 29)
State Representative Greg Rothman (District 87)
State Representative Thomas Murt (District 152)
State Representative Tarah Toohill (District 116)
State Representative Melissa Shusterman (District 157)