Chicago: On the eve of the NATO Summit in Chicago, US Congressman Danny Davis of the Seventh Congressional District of Illinois presented the Golden Eagle Award 2012 to Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi : Bhagavathi Sri Sri Sri Vijayeswari Devi, founder president of S.M.V.A. Trust, Sri Manidweepa Mahasamsthanam, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh, India, in recognition of her selfless service and dynamic leadership in providing numerous welfare programs for the underprivileged.
Congressman Danny Davis’s Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force presents the Golden Eagle Award annually to an individual, who has made an exceptional difference to humanity usually during the Asian American heritage month.
On arrival, Amma was greeted by a band of Westside drummers, buglers and trumpeters. The colorful procession included several Chicago Westside elected officials, bishops and pastors of various Churches and community leaders. The flower girls, Hampton sisters, five-year-old Micah and four-year-old Morgan, showered rose petals on the red carpet as Amma and Congressman Davis reached the dais. It was a truly East meets West welcome.
Tanya Prabhakar, a law student and the youth chair of Congressman Danny Davis’s Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force served as the emcee for the glittering award ceremony held at the Westside Baptist Ministers Conference in Chicago on May 19. The Reverend Michael Stinson of Chicago’s General Assembly Church offered the opening prayer followed by the invocational song rendered by Kathakali Dasgupta. Dasgupta sang a Tagore song to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Nobel Laureate Tagore.
Henna Gandhi offered a floral garland to Amma Sri Karunamayi while Ramesh Mehta, a long time devotee of Amma, garlanded Congressman Danny Davis. Ram Nair garlanded the host Pastor Reverend Dr. W.H. Foster Sr.
Rev A. P. Randall, vice president of the Westside Baptist Ministers Conference, welcoming the large gathering, described Amma as one of the world’s leading humanitarians. Lowry S. Taylor, executive director of the Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force, in his opening remarks stated that Amma is revered by many as the embodiment of wisdom, peace and unconditional love, who supports all faiths and serves mankind the world over. Amma’s favorite words are “I have not come to you as a guru... I have come to you as your own mother.”
Dr. Krishna Sunkara, awards chair, introducing Amma Sri Karunamayi listed her various welfare programs, which include free schools, free colleges, a 100-bed hospital, a food distribution program, women’s welfare programs, mobile medical vans, a housing program, disaster relief programs, water treatment plants, and her peace initiatives. Amma also has ashrams in Bangalore and Nellore focusing on world peace. A moving power-point presentation of Amma’s welfare programs of love in action followed. Dr. Sunkara also said that Amma has a 501.c-3 not-for-profit organization in the US — S.M.V.A. Trust. This is the 20th year Amma is visiting the USA. She is currently on a 38-city world tour. Further information can be found on her website:www. karunamayi.com.
Tanya Prabhakar introducing Congressman Davis referred to his over 40 years of stewardship and recalled that the Congressman was the first to endorse President Obama when he ran for the US Senate. Further describing Davis as a visionary, who includes minorities with a missionary zeal in all his endeavors. She added that her experience working with Davis in the last two years was inspirational, and that Davis is a living legend indeed, who serves as a role model for all.
Congressman Davis presenting the award to Amma, said that this is history in the making and beginning of a new partnership for peace, progress and prosperity. Davis stated that event is an important landmark for the Westside of Chicago. Describing Amma as a leader with a vision for the future and the strategy for getting there, which causes positive change. Amma motivates and inspire others to go in the right direction, he added. Saluting Amma for her selfless service and sacrifices, he appealed to all to support her efforts. Davis noted that his wife admired Amma’s radiance and the way she embraced the underprivileged as her own. Davis appealed to Amma to spearhead a coalition of faith-based organizations to address domestic violence, drug abuse and homelessness in Chicago. The Congressman also invited Amma to be the guest speaker at the Congressional Juneteenth reception in Washington DC, on June 21.
Receiving the Golden Eagle Award, Amma said that she is humbled by the honor. Amma announced that she would like to host a Multi Faith World Humanitarian and Peace Summit in Chicago in 2013 in co-operation with Congressman Davis. Respond-ing to Congressman Davis’s request she said that she will be happy to start a community mediation therapy center in Chicago to address the problems of drug abuse, alcoholism and violence. Amma appealed to the Congressman to assist her in establishing solar energy parks and water treatment plants in India to combat the current power crisis and water shortage that rural villages face. Amma also said that she will soon start an outreach program in Ghana and other places in Africa. She invited Congressman Davis and his wife Vera Davis to visit India and participate in the 10th anniversary celebrations of the S.M.V.A.Hospital.
Community leaders representing different communities offered their felicitations to Amma on the occasion. On behalf of the African American Community, Rev Dr. H.W. Foster, Pastor Pleasant Grove baptist Church, Chicago, on behalf of the Serbian American Community, the vice chair of the Task Force, Dr Josip Pasic, a renowned psychiatrist; on behalf of the Philli-pino-American Community, Vicente Cabrera, president Five Star Health Agency, Des Plaines; on behalf of the Greek American Community, Dr S.G. Polychronopoulos, a popular internist; and on behalf of the Indo-American Community, the co-chair of the Task Force, Sohan Joshi, president of Modern Accounting, Chicago; felicitated Amma.
Bishop Rev. Dr. Samuel Vallabdas, founder Pastor of India’s Telugu Methodist Church, Oak Park, gave the blessing and benediction. M. Kishore Mehta, vice chair of US Congressman Danny Davis’s Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force, proposed a vote of thanks. Poonam Bhatia rendered India’s national anthem.