NATICK, Mass. — The World Hindu Council of America recently announced it has launched the Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective USA, a grassroots initiative to bring the Hindu ethos and dharmic values of unity in diversity, plurality, compassion and mutual respect amongst religions to policy and advocacy for human rights, environmental protection, gender equality, and interfaith dialog.
HinduPACT USA will partner with like-minded community organizations, government officials, civil rights organizations to become a premier policy research and advocacy organization, according to a press release.
HinduPACT will identify and influence issues of interest to Hindus at all levels, train Hindus for grassroots advocacy and create advocacy internship opportunities for Hindu youth.
HinduLounge, VHPA’s weekly Facebook Live program on contemporary Hindu issues in America, is the first HinduPACT USA project. Political candidates from across the country, regardless of their political affiliation, are questioned to ascertain if their positions are consistent with dharmic and American values. HinduPACT USA will not take any partisan political stand and will not endorse any candidate for political office, the release clarified.
Over the course of next year, HinduPACT USA will formulate a Hindu view on contemporary American issues such as school prayer, race relations, gun control, environmental awareness, abortion, gender equality, legalization of marijuana, immigration, sanctuary cities/states, without taking a partisan political stand on the issues, it added.
Meanwhile, in a press release commenting on the police killing of George Floyd, Ajay Shah, convener of HinduPACT USA and executive vice president of VHPA, said: “We condemn the brutal killing of George Floyd. We stand for racial justice, equality, and civil rights. ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,’ embodied in our Declaration of Independence, should be our guiding spirit.
“Hindu ethos, as expressed by a Hindu poet eloquently says, ‘A true Vaishnava (Hindu) is the one who feels the pain of others.’ Currently, as people of faith, we feel the pain of injustice and the killing of George Floyd. We call for a national dialog on race relations.”
“We fully endorse the right to peacefully protest injustice,” Shah further stated in the press release. “As the Reverend Martin Luther King said, ‘We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ However, we are unambiguously against riots and looting, and the attacks on those entrusted to protect us.”
The local VHPA chapters are working with the interfaith and community groups to work towards justice and equality. The Cincinnati, Ohio, chapter of VHPA has signed the letter seeking justice by EquaSion and the interfaith community on the killing of George Floyd.