SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi was personally invited by Vice President Joe Biden to attend his Diwali Reception in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night, a rare honor.
“First, I thought it was a joke. I actually closed my email and re-opened it,” said Negandhi. “I received the invite on Election Day and I was stunned and excited. I never thought I would see a Diwali celebration hosted by the Vice President of the United States, let alone be invited to his home.”
– Kevin Negandhi regarding fellow Indian-Americans attending VP Biden’s Diwali reception
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights and is one of the most celebrated holidays in Indian culture.
Negandhi, who has been recognized for overcoming adversity as the first Indian-American anchor on a national sports network, was inspired by the number of “groundbreakers” who surrounded him at the event held at Biden’s residence.
“[This event] represents so much to the progress and recognition of Indian-Americans everywhere and in various fields. It was a proud moment to talk to a U.S. general, a U.S. judge, actors who have succeeded in American film and comedians who not only make me laugh but make many of my friends laugh,” Negandhi said. “They are all groundbreakers who, quite frankly, erase those stereotypical boundaries and Diwali is such a joyous occasion where we celebrate victory over darkness heading into a new year prosperity. It was a night we all needed.”
Negandhi had so many special moments throughout the night, but some of his favorite memories were the people he met and the conversations he had. Many of those conversations involved his favorite NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Meeting Indian-Americans behind the scenes of this administration who are policy advisors and speech writers, the true backbone to President Obama and Vice President Biden was special,” he said. “All they wanted to do was talk sports. All I wanted to do was talk about their impact and what kind of legacy they are leaving for future Indian Americans.”
“The most memorable thing was meeting Vice President Biden and seeing that he’s just like us,” Negandhi said. “We talked about the Eagles and Wentz Wagon [the nickname for fans of Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz]. And he delivered one of greatest speeches I’ve ever heard. Thirty-five minutes about unity, progress, faith and resiliency – all definitions of Indian Americans.
“Despite an ugly presidential campaign leading up to the election, Vice President Biden refused to be negative. His charisma was evident and his words resonated with the audience. A special night I’ll never forget.”