FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C – HinduPACT implores the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to reject a motion to add “Caste” to its anti-discriminatory policy. On March 8th, as Hindus around the world celebrate Holi – the biggest festival in Hinduism – the TDSB is set to vote on this discriminatory motion.
This proposed legislation sets a dangerous precedent for Hindus everywhere, and it follows a recent racist Caste ordinance that was passed by the Seattle City Council on February 21st that includes “caste” as a specific category as prejudice. This is a direct violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. While Seattle’s Caste ordinance is perilous, Wednesday’s vote in Toronto is even more dangerous because it is not just a resolution but an actual piece of legislation.
Ajay Shah, Convenor of HinduPACT,
HinduPACT believes that the addition of “Caste” to the anti-discriminatory policy will lead to the further stigmatization of the Hindu diaspora and communities throughout North America and the perpetuation of stereotypes that are both false and harmful.
Tejal Shah, Convenor of the Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference (HMEC) and Jt. General Secretary of the World Hindu Council of America (VHPA),
Recent vandalism of Hindu temples in North America, and the caste resolutions such as these further an agenda of Hinduphobia. Toronto Districe School Board has an opportunity to reject this caste motion and take a stand against discrimination and violence against Hindus
It is crucial to note that “Caste” is a colonial construct that was imposed upon Hindus by the British during their colonial rule over India. The word “caste” traces its lineage to Portuguese and Spanish and was invented and used as a tool of racial discrimination against converted Jews and to maintain racial and genetic purity of Spanish and Portuguese Christians. There is no reference to the concept of “caste” in any of the religious or philosophical teachings that originated from the Indian subcontinent.
HinduPACT urges the TDSB to reject this motion and to uphold the principles of equality and justice for all. We call upon all Hindus and allies to stand with us in opposition to this harmful legislation.