Ethnic Diversity in 2017 Inauguration Celebrations

Written by Tracy Fey

No matter what side of the aisle you are on, Inaugural Balls and Galas are some of the biggest events in Washington D.C. These celebrations, which take place every four years at the beginning of a new Presidential term, are hosted by a wide variety of both partisan and nonpartisan American organizations. The 2017 Inauguration saw many diverse political and ethnically representative groups taking part in this 228-year-old tradition.

For example, The Indian American Presidential Inaugural Ball took place at the direction of several nonpartisan Indian American groups including the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) and the Indo-American Center. A record number of Indian Americans have been elected to Congressional offices this term, and a few Indian Americans have been appointed to positions in the new Presidential administration. The Chairman of the USINPAC described the event as “a reason to celebrate and recognize the contributions of these and other members of the Indian American community”.

Additionally, The Latino Coalition, which represents over one million Hispanic-owned small businesses, hosted an inaugural event. The event attracted elected officials and Hispanic business leaders from across the country, and met in hopes “to build on the considerable economic and cultural accomplishments of Hispanic Americans.”

The Asian Pacific American Presidential Inaugural Gala also took place to celebrate the Asian Pacific Americans who had been nominated to serve in the new administration. In addition to celebrating the Inauguration with “performances from communities proudly sharing their rich cultures”, the event served to provide networking opportunities with business and community leaders.

Finally, a few alternative balls took place, including the Peace Ball and the Refugee Ball. The Peace Ball, which took place at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, was a gathering to highlight “the work of peace and justice in the United States and other places in the world”. Meanwhile, the Refugee Ball, hosted by various non-profits, focused on the contributions to society of immigrants and refugees.

This is just a small sample of the hundreds of balls and galas that take please every four years in Washington. These celebrations are a testament to the diversity – both politically and ethnically – of the United States.