Issued by Association of Meiteis in the Americas (AMA)
June 23, 2023:
The Association of Meiteis in the Americas (AMA) Stands in Solidarity: Peace demonstration for ongoing violence in Manipur, India Location: Washington monument, Washington D.C.
The Association of Meiteis in the Americas (AMA) extends heartfelt gratitude to all the individuals, and supporters who joined us at the momentous peace demonstration held at Washington monument, Washington D.C. on June 22, 2023.
Together, we stood as a united front, expressing our unwavering solidarity against the ongoing violence in Manipur, India – our beloved birthplace and motherland.
The peace demonstration coincides with Honourable Narendra Modi ji’s landmark first state visit to the USA to strengthen the US – India tie. The demonstration drew an extraordinary number of Meitei participants, including more than 70 individuals, including 10 children, who travelled from various far and near cities across the United States.
The inclement weather, with rain showers throughout the day, did not dampen the spirits of those who stood united for peace. Clad in ponchos and holding umbrellas, the level of commitment and dedication displayed by the attendees was truly remarkable.
The journey to join us in Washington D.C. was an adventurous one for many families, as they undertook the task of driving for hours across multiple states and time zones. From different corners of the country namely Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts families with children embarked on trips ranging from 4 hours to as long as 12 hours to be present at this gathering of solidarity. Despite the distance and the hardships endured, their determination to stand united with us in Washington D.C. showcased the unwavering commitment of our community to the cause of peace in Manipur, India.
Many participants embarked on red-eye flights from California, Texas, Florida, enduring long journeys to be present at the peace demonstration. The determination and commitment exhibited by these individuals truly exemplify the passion and devotion we hold for our motherland.
Furthermore, it was heartening to witness the overwhelming support from the local community in Washington D.C, Maryland, Virginia. Additionally, families and individuals from the nearby states New York and New Jersey area made special efforts to travel a day before the event, immediately after completing their work commitments. We were happy to see a representation of 6 people from the Bangladeshi Meitei community in New York joining us and expressing their support for our appeal for peace. It was very wholesome and touching when one of the Bangladeshi meitei said “Bangladesh tagi oirasu thamoi di Manipur gini” We were thrilled to receive support from Indians who were part of Prime Minister Modi’s Indian cultural celebration group at the White House. They eagerly joined us in spreading our message of peace and harmony across India and the world. This incredible show of solidarity uplifted our spirits and reignited our hope for a peaceful and normal future.
We also had the wonderful opportunity to connect with people from diverse backgrounds.
Curious individuals, including Americans, Europeans, Koreans passersby, expressed genuine interest in learning more about our cause. They were grateful for the information we shared about the ongoing situation. It’s important to note that our efforts to raise awareness went beyond the Indian community, reaching a wider audience of non-Indians and larger groups.
Together, we are making a positive impact and fostering understanding among different communities.
We express our heartfelt gratitude to all the individuals who, despite not being physically present at the location, showed their unwavering support for our cause. These individuals, in a remarkable display of solidarity, changed their Whatsapp profile pictures and other social media profiles to feature the “Peace is Possible” image. We are immensely grateful for their prompt response and active participation in the profile image update campaign, which was organised with short notice. By making this small but significant gesture, they have amplified our message of peace and demonstrated their commitment to standing alongside us in our pursuit for a peaceful Manipur.
Placards with slogans like “Ho Ima Manipur Nung Gun bi leite Ima”, “Proud Meitei, Proud Indian”, “Peace is possible”, “Strongly condemn the violence” were used. Flyers with brief information about the current crisis and appeal for action and peace is outlined.
“We are here today to request our Honourable PM Narendra Modi ji to accelerate the peace process. Today is also a significant day, as two of the world’s largest Democratic countries, USA and India, are meeting to strengthen ties.” stated Dr. Rajshree Keisham, the event’s spokesperson. Dr. Keisham continued, “We would like to take the opportunity to let the world know what is happening in Manipur, India. We would like to request everyone, in this country, to the world, to all the media houses to extend support to bring peace and focus on rebuilding. When we ask for peace, it is peace for everyone in the State, Manipur. We want to stop the gunfight and killings. Let us talk our differences on the table, and not by violence.”
Roshan Ngangom echoed this message of peace and expressed his support for restoring normalcy in his speech. Highlighting the significance of the gathering, Ruhikanta Amom, a senior Meitei residing in the US, remarked, “This is the largest physical gathering of Meiteis in America for a common cause in my 25+ years of living in the US.”
The Association of Meiteis in the Americas (AMA) extends its deepest appreciation to all the participants for their tremendous efforts and dedication. The demonstration was made even more powerful and impactful by the diverse and passionate individuals who came together as one voice for peace and justice in Manipur.
AMA remains firm in its commitment to pursuing a peaceful resolution in Manipur, upholding the rights and dignity of every individual. The demonstration at Washington, DC marks the beginning of a movement that will continue to advocate for lasting changes and peace in Manipur.
Issued by Organizing Committee, Association of Meiteis in the Americas