HASC Call to Serve Report for the White House

Hindu American Seva Charities"Call to Serve" Report
HASC Report Illuminates Evolution of Hindu American Communities’ Seva Efforts

Joshua DuBuois, Executive Director (left)

HASC report presented to President Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton and senior officials and Hindu/Dharmic spiritual leaders.

Over 45 years, since the first large wave of Indians arrived to the U.S., immigrants from all walks of life, Dharmic backgrounds, and regions of South Asia have joined forces, to strengthen their community.  Seva has been a major component – the proverbial glue – that solidifies their community bonds.

Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) held a microscope up to this active community building among Hindu Americans nationwide.  HASC compiled the findings, discoveries, and realizations into a comprehensive report including the following:

       Specific seva activities
       Interfaith collaboration
       Information about infrastructures and capacity building among the Hindu American community.

Under the guidance of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP), an inspired team with Anju Bhargava, a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council, formed Hindu American Seva Charities.  OFBNP provided a context, a voice and learning opportunities to bridge the gap between the U.S. government and Hindu/Dharmic institutions.

From its inception, HASC’s goal has been to highlight and enlighten the nation about Hindu Americans’ seva activities and their numerous accomplishments in community building, mainly in response to President’s United We Serve summer 2009 initiative.  However, what HASC discovered was a significant gap, particularly in capacity building and areas of civic engagement between Dharmic institutions and organization and the various stakeholders in our country. Many of the recommendations were included in the final Council report.

Despite this gap, the Hindu American community has abundant knowledge and resources to serve the nation.  One socially innovative solution is to establish a string of Hindu dharma-inspired “Seva Centers” -associated with temples or stand alone - which would be conduits to mobilize the community to serve all.  Another effective solution is to inspire Hindu American youths to actively participate in community building. Similarly, the retired senior citizens require attention and engagement.

The HASC report reflects Hindu Americans’ efforts and successes through seva, but the issues and dialogue must continue.  HASC is keen on understanding how to leverage the talents and resources of its community in order to strengthen America, both domestically and internationally.

The HASC report is a testament to a segment of society that has, up until now, survived solely on the Dharmic principle of Seva.  It is time everyone, from the federal government to Hindu Americans see the possibilities, the perspectives and the ever growing needs of this community that is a significant part of the American landscape.
Aptly, today is the Hindu festival of Navaratri and Yugadi which marks the start of a new era.
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