Washington: President Barack Obama has honoured Indian American activist
Vijaya Emani posthumously with the Presidential Citizens Medal for
"her courage in overcoming and speaking out against domestic
abuse" in the Indian-American community.
"Breaking long-held taboos, Vijaya Emani lent her voice to protect
Indian-American women from domestic violence," said Obama
presenting the nation's second-highest civilian honour to Emani's
daughters, Sujata and Nirmala Emani, in the East Room of the White
Flanked by life-size portraits of George and Martha Washington,
Obama called Emani and 12 other recipients of the 2011
Presidential Citizens Medal "a remarkable group of Americans" who
were "united by the choices they made" to help others in need.
"Taken from us far too soon, she was a trailblazer who shared her
personal story to help other battered women overcome abusive
relationships," Obama said of Emani who was killed Jan 15, 2009 at
the age of 51 in a road accident.
"With boundless energy and an insatiable drive to serve her
community, she threw herself into numerous causes, from supporting
single parents to honouring India's cultural heritage.
"The United States honours Vijaya Emani for her many contributions
to the people of Cleveland and our nation," he said amid Applause.
"Vijaya Emani became a role model for victims of domestic abuse
because of her strength and determination in overcoming domestic
abuse in her own life, and by speaking out about the issue
publicly, she broke a long held taboo in the Indian American
community," a White House announcement said.
"Emani lived and breathed many causes including projects to aid
the homeless and promoting diversity. Although she was killed in a
tragic vehicle accident, her example and message live on," it
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)