HAF

The Hindu American Foundation has launched a campaign, “I Am Hindu American,” which encourages Hindu Indian Americans to upload a photo of themselves and share how Hinduism inspires them in their everyday lives. (hafsite.org photo)

The Hindu American Foundation Dec. 4 launched a new campaign, “I Am Hindu American,” in a bid to improve awareness of the Hindu religion and Hindu Americans.

The multi-platform initiative includes a social-media campaign, a 30-second public service announcement, and a companion website to provide resources about Hinduism and Hindu Indian Americans.

In collaboration with more than 300 community partners around the country, the PSA is being distributed through social media networks nationwide to boost awareness and clarify common stereotypes and misunderstandings about Hinduism, the organization stated in a press release.

The platform will be interactive, encouraging Hindu Americans to upload a photo of themselves and share how Hinduism inspires them in their everyday lives.

“There are many Hindu contributions to our daily lives: from yoga and meditation to the decimal system as well as an understanding of the law of cause and effect known as karma,” said the organization.

“The goal of the ‘I Am Hindu American’ campaign is to drive online conversation by putting a face on the Hindu American community. Despite the fact that Hindus are one of the most successful minority communities, knowledge about Hindus and Hinduism is very low among the US general public,” said Suhag Shukla, executive director and co-founder of HAF. “Our own data shows that one in three Hindu-American students report being bullied for their religious beliefs. Most of this is based on misperceptions about Hindus and we want to change that narrative.”

Pointing out to the statistics released earlier this month by the FBI, saying hate crime incidents reported to the FBI increased by about 17 percent in 2017 as compared to 2016, another goal of the “I Am Hindu American” campaign, said HAF, is to “educate about Hinduism during a period where the country has seen a rise in religious intolerance.”

Amid speculation that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) will declare her presidential bid for 2020, HAF said, it is an “important time” for Hindus in America, adding that Gabbard would be the first Hindu candidate ever from a major political party to enter the race for the White House.

“I am grateful to be a part of this initiative featuring the stories of Americans across the country who are sharing how their Hindu faith inspires them in their everyday lives,” stated Gabbard.

HAF adds that Congress currently has four Hindu members: Gabbard, Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).

“Hinduism is the world’s oldest living religion, a global and universal religion with adherents living on every continent and are a part of the American fabric. Hinduism is no longer confined to Indians, and like Buddhism has been embraced by people from many cultures,” said Dena Merriam, a leader in the interfaith movement.

To learn more about “I Am Hindu American,” visit www.IAmHinduAmerican.org.

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