Monday, April 16, 2012

Historic White House Conference: Community Building in the 21st Century with Strengthened Dharmic Faith-Based Institutions

Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) is pleased to announce, on April 20th, with The White House Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, it is co-hosting a historic conference *Community Building in the 21stCentury with Strengthened Dharmic Faith-Based Institutions, * for the Dharmic (defined as Buddhist,Hindu, Jain, Sikh) Religious and Faith Based Institution Leaders.

The aim of the conference is to increase Dharmic capacity to serve and create conduits to address our Seva (social justice) issues and serve our neighbors and communities around us. With the briefing and interactive discussions we expect to have increased interaction between the government and our own eastern faiths. With strengthened Dharmic infrastructures, and focus on seva/service we can address our own needs and those of the many communities we live in. HASC is partnering with many Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikh organizations, including Council of Hindu Temples, JAINA, Soka Gakkai International-USA and others to create a coalition.

The eastern Dharmic traditions share many commonalities, while recognizing they have different expressions. In America, our collective faith infrastructures (temples, ashrams, and meditation and yoga studios) are in early stages of development. The Dharmic Americans, mostly post 1964
immigrants, are just becoming part of the mosaic of the pluralistic landscape of America. The Inaugural Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership recognized America’s religious and cultural diversity and made specific recommendations to the President and the
Administration for their inclusion See the Interfaith Collaboration Section (starting from page 69) in *New Era of Partnerships: Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Presents Final Report of Recommendations*<http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/03/11/a-new-era-partnerships-advi...>

In addition to the Council recommendations, HASC conducted pioneering research to assess the “State of Seva” in Dharmic America in the context of the programs provided by the Federal Agencies, identified the need to develop Seva Centers (compassionate infrastructure) and recommended ways to develop prototypes. Recognizing the seva infrastructure development gaps, and building upon the success of last year’s conference *Energizing Dharmic Seva: Impacting Change in America and Abroad*, HASC approached the White House to have a briefing and interactive conference for the Religious Leaders of the major eastern traditions, the Dharmic community, and our voice was heard. See our "Call to Serve Report"<http://www.hinduamericanseva.org/call-to-serve-briefing-report>
and click here for the pdf *HASC Report<http://www.hinduamericanseva.org/call-to-serve-briefing-report/Callto...> .*

Over the past two years, in collaboration with Corporations for National and Community Service and Points of Light, HASC has worked to establish Seva center prototypes http://www.hinduamericanseva.org/home> in different locations. These in-faith and in-culture prototypes, promote pluralism, interfaith collaboration and bring the social justice voice to the local,
state and national platforms. Rather than directly implementing projects, HASC aims to facilitate inter and intra Dharmic and interfaith partnerships which, in turn, create and carry out projects of their own choosing.

During this briefing we expect different federal agencies to explain how they work with faith based communities and institutions (such as gurudwaras and temples) and hear our concerns and issues. We hope this will be the first step in us, the Dharmic community, in coming together, exploring and
identifying our common ground and building a coalition to strengthen each other and our nation.

Dinner and Dialogue with Ms. Anju Bhargava, Hindu member in the Inaugural Advisory Council of White House Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

From: Rema Venkatasubban <rema@hinduamericanseva.org>
Date: Sat, Feb 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Subject: Dinner and Dialogue with Ms. Anju Bhargava, Hindu Council member
from the White House.
To: Rema Venkatasubban <rema@hinduamericanseva.org>

Friends,

My name is Rema Venkat, Director of Mid-West chapter of Hindu American
Seva Charities, a non-profit organization promoting tolerance, social
justice, civic engagement and advancing interfaith & community service.
This organization was founded by Ms. Anju Bhargava, the one and
onlyHindu Council member in the Inaugural Advisory Council of Faith based
and Neighborhood Partnerships Office in the White House.

The local team of HASC has been creating a movement to engage in
community service and advance inter-faith harmony.
Please join us in welcoming the founder of HASC, Ms. Anju Bhargava to
Wichita at a "Dinner and Dialogue" that we have organized at the basement
hall of the Hindu Temple of Greater Wichita. Kindly see the flier, sent as
an attachment with this email.
It is a free event, open to all and dinner with plant based materials
will be served. Volunteers for the potluck are requested to bring only
"egg-less" desserts. Dinner items have already been sponsored. Thanks !

Looking forward to hearing from you all. Please pass on this information to
all your friends and family.

Warm regards,
Rema.

*Rema Venkatasubban*
*Director, Mid-West Chapter of HASC
*
*Americorps VISTA Alum*
*Hindu American **Seva Charities(HASC)*
*www.hinduamericanseva.org*

HASC's Youth Scholar's blog....Religious Conversion in America: A Form of Violence ... resulting in two Bhutanese committing suicide

Below is an article from Sai Kolluru, HASC Youth Scholar.
Sai had earlier participated in a study HASC conducted on Bhutanese refugees. Sai aptly describes the concerns of many in the community.  "Predatory conversion*" is an important issue that many Hindus and Hindu organizations have worked and are working to address. As Sai indicated, it is important to bring these issues and its impact more to the forefront while respecting all faith. Interfaith dialogues and collaboration can increase understanding and lead to peaceful resolutions. Best. Anju

State of Formation Emcee's
Corner...<http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=15d4f7de1064a5171ce87bc0e&id=39a0...>
*Religious Conversion: A Form of Violence*
*By Sai Kolluru
*[image: Sai Kolluru]Posted on February 15th, 2012
http://www.stateofformation.org/2012/02/religious-conversion-a-form-o...

[image: Tibet: Pure Devotion by Sylvain Labeste]

*To the Divine and Respected,*

*Disclaimer: This article does not blame any religion. It simply brings up
the issue of Religious conversion and encourages one to look into the
issue. Also, when I say conversion I am talking about forced and
involuntary conversion as well as proselytizing. A humble request: the
point of this article is not to argue or point fingers at any religion but
act upon the issue peacefully through dialogue and similar means. Reminds
us all why interfaith dialogue is extremely important in today's world.
Thank you.*

As I was en route to visit the Bhutanese refugees I tutor one Sunday
morning, I received a phone call from one of my Bhutanese brothers telling
me that two Bhutanese have committed suicide.

Unable to understand what he was saying, I told him we will discuss the
incident upon my arrival at his apartment in West Park, Cleveland. I sat
down with him and he told me the story.

Two Bhutanese refugees who have escaped religious persecution and ethnic
cleansing in their own country and were finally granted asylum in the
United States passed away a few days ago. I asked him what happened and he
told me that they were unknowingly converted to Christianity. The Bhutanese
refugees came to the United States hoping to find a land that will embrace
them, protect them, and allow them to be pursue their dreams. However,
trying really hard to "fit in" to the culture of the United States, the
Bhutanese found themselves in a tough situation. They wanted to get married
but did not know how.

They met a Pastor that guided them to a Church where they could get
married, even though the Pastor knew they were Hindu. The Bhutanese thought
it was part of the American culture to get married in the Church. The
Pastor told the Bhutanese that they need to be Baptized in order to get
married, to which again the Bhutanese thought it was part of the American
culture. The Bhutanese just wanted to be accepted in the community and get
married but did not know that they were being converted to Christianity.
Upon realizing this after a conversation with their own Bhutanese
community, the Bhutanese felt ashamed and betrayed. The result was suicide.

Unfortunately, their experience
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdrS38nQGcg>is not uncommon; other
refugees have faced similar
challenges<http://forefugees.com/category/issues/religion-issues/converting-refu...>and
horrors. Similar cases have sprung up across the United States within
the Bhutanese community where the newcomers have been targets of
conversion. During my train ride back to the university campus that Sunday
afternoon, I was very disappointed about what happened and felt the need to
increase my efforts helping the Bhutanese community assimilate into the
Western society. Particularly on the point of making them understand it is
okay to be a Hindu and proudly represent themselves as Hindus, after all,
the United States is a nation of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and
non-believers right?

Having an opportunity to write in *State of Formation*, I had to write
about Religious Conversion. As a Hindu, I have never been brought up with
the idea of conversion or was made to think that my religious tradition was
the most superior and the only path to salvation.

Hinduism does not see the point of conversion, if it did we would be trying
to use the words of Lord Krishna in *Bhagavad Gita* and try to convert the
entire world but we do not, why don't we? A Christian missionary in Germany
once asked, "Why did Hindus never set out of Indian soil to propagate their
religion? It is just because they knew it was of no worth."

To this statement, Max Muller, a German Philologist and Orientalist,
immediately replied saying, "For Hindus, Religion is like a mother. She is
the most beautiful of all. *Bhagavad Gita* says, 'if you try to prove you
are worthy by propagating the beauty of your mother, then the outside world
will see her as a prostitute. Hence propagate the value of your mother by
the deeds you do called Karma. The value of the mother is known by the
deeds done by the child. If your Karma is good, then automatically your
mother will be the most respected.'"

Hinduism is a form of Universalism, many of the concepts in Hinduism are
universal and thus are very accepting. We see the Universe in ourselves and
ourselves in the Universe , such is the cosmic manifestation of the
Divine. When there is Divinity within everyone then what is the point of
trying to convince someone that their spiritual path is wrong? "Ekam Sat
Vipraha Bahuda Vadanti,": Truth is one and the Sages speak of it in many
ways, says the *Rig Veda*.

In my effort to explain this concept to the world, I came across the below
excerpt from an interview of a very Revered Spiritual teacher of the
Advaita Vedanta-Shankara tradition who speaks the voice of Hinduism on
Religious Conversion. Below Swamiji puts very simply why Religious
Conversion is a form of violence. He also talks about the US view of
India's Religious Freedom. He advises us Americans and future ethical
leaders of tomorrow to really consider if we ourselves are abusing
'religious freedom' to advance our own tradition by forcing others to
convert. The question I have for this *State of Formation* is that as a
community that truly believes in freedom of religion, should we push
Congress to consider legislation that focuses on restricting religious
conversion? Perhaps, these might be the first steps for a nation like
America to truly represent the importance that lies behind freedom of
religion and interfaith dialogue. In this effort, we can too do our part to
live and let live.

*The following is an edited excerpt from an interview of Swami Dayananda
Saraswati by *

*T. R. Jawahar of Newstoday, Chennai, June 30, 2003 available at **
http://www.newstodaynet.com/swami.htm*<http://www.newstodaynet.com/swami.htm>
*.*

*Why do you say conversion is a form of violence?*

When you physically hurt me, it is violence. If you hurt me emotionally, it
is violence. And if you hurt me spiritually, that is the worst violence,
rank violence. When you convert somebody, you have to criticize the
person's religion, his worship, his culture. All these hurt. When he
converts, there is more hurt. He has to disown his parents, their wisdom
and their culture, his ancestors and entire community. You isolate, uproot
and emotionally unsettle him.

*How can we deal with this problem?*

The theologians have to change, but they will not, because of their
indoctrination. But we should keep talking about it with them. They are
waiting for a time when there is more freedom for them to do their
conversion work. So let that conducive time for them to seek converts be
kept away. Our people have to be made aware and proud of our religion. They
should be able to say to the missionaries, "Enough is enough."

Any protest against religious conversion is always branded as persecution,
because it is maintained that people are not allowed to practice their
religion, that their religious freedom is curbed. The truth is entirely
different. The other person also has the freedom to practice his or her
religion without interference. That is his/her birthright. Religious
freedom does not extend to having a planned program of conversion. Such a
program is to be construed as aggression against the religious freedom of
others.

*But the naive fall for the lure of money and incentives.*

It is not really the money that buys the conversion. The missionaries give
small things, and tempt with larger. That makes a thumb space, a small
opening, to enter the heart. Then the missionary says the fellow's daily *
puja* is wrong, his altar of prayer is not right, and he has to change it.
That is the unkindest cut you can get. It is a stab in the heart, his
religious core, where this fellow has innocently allowed the missionary to
enter. Missionaries do seemingly good things in order to commit this
violence. After the conversion, he is told that his brethren and
forefathers are devil worshipers!

*Will the Hindu clergy allow them to reconvert?*

Here in India all are Hindus until they call themselves something
different. When I allow every form of worship, then where is the problem?
We deem you another Hindu, only you are saying, "I am this or that." There
is no reconversion. There is a prodigality and they come back like a
prodigal son. We do not even need to baptize. We have to ask him to give up
beef, that is all.

*What is the US view of India's religious freedom?*

The US government had appointed a Commission on International Religious
Freedom. This Commission is an authentic body and funded by the government.
The Commission gets information from all countries and then submits a
periodical report to the government. Based on its report, the government of
US may apply pressure on those countries where, according to the
Commission, there is lack of religious freedom. You'll be surprised the
Commission recommended India to be designated a Country of Particular
Concern [a designation given to Iran, North Korea, Burma and several other
totalitarian states the US State Department rejected their recommendation
to so designate India].

They cited the anti-conversion bills of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and some
Gujarat incidents as the basis of their action. They say there is no
religious freedom in India. This is according to their own matrix of norms
on the basis of which they decide "religious freedom." I question this
matrix.

The Commission's criterion appears to be that if evangelization for
conversions is allowed, then there is religious freedom. That means if
missionaries are free enough to aggressively destroy my indigenous
religious tradition, and if I don't question it, then there is religious
freedom. If I stand up to that aggression, then it is considered an
infringement upon human rights and religious freedom. Therefore, I am
appealing to the government of India to appoint our own Commission on
Religious Freedom, and let them report on where there is religious freedom
and where there is not.

*But what about the good charity work of the missionaries?*

Missionaries are using charity with the aim of conversion. They should do
humanitarian work the same way Hindus do. We have charities all over the
world. Look at Salem or Coimbatore. How many hospitals are there? Almost
all of them are run by Hindu charities. And what do they do? They don't
convert, they just run the charities. There is no priest or nun there
because there is no conversion program. The charities remain charities.

But to run charities for another purpose is the most uncharitable thing to
do. Let me make a comparison. Have you seen how those who supply cows to
slaughterhouses treat those cows a week before the slaughter? They feed the
cows a lot and don't allow them to move around in a bid to increase their
weight. It is called "pounding." You could say, "Ah, love and feeding! How
humanitarian these people are, so human, etc." But those fellows have an
eye on another goal. This is how I see all the missionaries' work it is
like the love of the slaughterhouse people. Missionaries slaughter
religions, slaughter traditions, slaughter cultures. Yes, they do
humanitarian work, but slaughterhouse love it is.

If you really love people, just give charitably and forget about it. Don't
talk about your religion. Keep your sacred religion in your heart. I find
it is not a happy thing to talk about, the vulgarity of it. Even to talk
about it is rather staining my tongue and leaves a distaste.

*Swami Dayananda**, a sannyasi of the Adi Shankara and Veda Vyasa
tradition, founder of Arsha Vidya centers in India, USA, Canada and
Australia, has taught worldwide for over 45 years.*

Featured image, TIbet: Pure Devotion, is courtesy of
fotopedia<http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-3941252020>by Sylvain
Labeste.

prayerrrrr-300x218.jpg
26K ViewDownload

Hindu American Seva Charities joins renewed call to Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994

Hindu American Seva Charities has joined 40 national and regional ecumenical, interfaith, and advocacy organizations to renew a call to Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of
1994 (VAWA).

The Act, which creates an office within the Department of Justice to develop federal policies around issues relating to domestic violence,  dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, was scheduled for
reauthorization in 2011.

"Since the original passage of VAWA in 1994, the legislation has dramatically enhanced our nation's response to violence against women," the organizations said in a January 26, 2012 letter to members of Congress.

"More victims report domestic violence to the police; the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 63 percent; and VAWA saved nearly $14,8 billion in net averted social costs in just its first six years," the latter said.

“Faith and secular communities across the country actively support VAWA. We need everyone to call upon our Government, our Congress men and women, to reauthorize and fund VAWA”, said Anju Bhargava, Founder of Hindu American Seva Charities, “Temples and ashrams can play a role in helping all our communities deal with difficult issues. We all need to together to create safe places where women can come for assistance and healing. We need to speak out against all forms of intimate partner violence and work in partnership with our government to accomplish this goal.”

Organizations signing on to a letter to members of Congress today said, “In times of crisis, victims often turn to their faith communities and leaders for guidance and support. Faith leaders are on the front lines each day identifying victims, providing refuge, referring victims and their families
to VAWA programs and services, and offering hope and healing."

Reauthorization of VAWA, the letter said, "gives lawmakers an opportunity to build upon previous successes and make critical improvements to meet the changing needs of victims and provide more avenues for assistance and support."

The full text of the letter to Congress is  here<https://docs.google.com/open?id=1yrrXV7EzkcPl9looPN34W1Mme33fqOutq98k...>.

Signers of the letter to Congress include:

Alliance of Baptists
Apostolic Catholic Church
Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies
Catholics for Family Peace Committee
Christian Reformed Church in North America
Church Women United
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelicals for Social Action
FaithTrust Institute
Global Justice Institute
Hindu American Seva Charities
IMA World Health
Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence
Islamic Circle of North America
Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Social Services Association- USA
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Jewish Women International
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Metropolitan Community Churches
Muslim Public Affairs Council
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Catholic Women
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
National Council of Jewish Women
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Peaceful Families Project
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Women
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
Women of Reform Judaism

Support for Violence Against Women

Hindu American Seva Charities has joined 40 national and
regional ecumenical, interfaith, and advocacy organizations to renew a call
to Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA).
Click here for our press
release<https://docs.google.com/a/hinduamericanseva.org/file/d/0Bwlxj5pIr0I-Y...>.

VAWA impacts us all, women and men. Please get to get your Dharmic voice
of compassion heard. We urge you to get your Senators to sign the bill. Below
is the most recent alert sent out by the National Task Force.

We are now up to 61 co-sponsors. Senators Heller and Ayotte signed on last
week. As of now, Senator Hutchison from Texas is the only female Senator
not supporting the bill. Is there a possibility any of us could do targeted
outreach to Texas folks asking them to contact her and urge her to support
the Leahy/Crapo bill, S. 1925?

Thanks, Anju

** **

****

*March 26, 2012*

Please forward to everyone you know who cares about ending domestic
violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking!****

*The time to act is NOW for upcoming Senate vote on VAWA!*

VAWA (S. 1925) now has *61 sponsors* – be sure and thank senators *Heller,
Dean * <http://www.heller.senate.gov/>*- (R – NV) - *(202) 224-6244
and *Ayotte,
Kelly * <http://www.ayotte.senate.gov>*- (R – NH) *(202) 224-3324 for
adding their names to the bill last week.* *****

*Our goal was 60 sponsors by the first day of spring and WE MADE IT THANKS
TO YOUR EFFORTS!*

TAKE ACTION:****

1. Call Senator Reid’s office to tell him to file for cloture and bring
VAWA to the floor.****

2. Write a letter to the editor to get VAWA to the Senate floor (tips
below!).****

3. Call the Senators who are NOT sponsoring VAWA and urge them to sign on!**
**

*Action 1: Call Senator Reid’s office with this message:* “Please bring
VAWA to the floor THIS week, and if you cannot do that, please file a
cloture petition before the Senate goes home at the end of the week so
Senators can vote on VAWA as soon as you get back April 16.”*
*
If you are not from Nevada, call 202-224-3542 (D.C. office).
If you are from Nevada, call 775-686-5750 (Reno office).****

*Action 2: Write a letter to the editor to get VAWA to the Senate Floor!*
Find suggested language below which you should feel free to edit and
personalize. Find media contacts in your area:
http://capwiz.com/fconl/dbq/media****

To The Editor:****

The Violence Against Women Act, S. 1925, has 61 bipartisan sponsors
including [your state and sponsoring Senators]. There are fewer than a
dozen bills in Congress right now that have this type of bipartisan
support. In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a giant step
forward for our nation and the Act is overdue for reauthorization. Yet,
Senator Reid has yet to call it to the floor. We hope this is simply an
oversight.****

** **

Domestic violence and sexual assault are pervasive social problems that
must end. In fact, domestic violence and sexual assault affect
everyone in [name
of local community] in some way. VAWA’s passage meant that our federal
government finally acknowledged the tremendous harm caused by these crimes
and provided a critical investment to help victims. Evidence shows that
this legislation works to stop violence and millions of families are better
off as a result. We need to keep these provisions in place. As a society,
we cannot go backwards. ****

** **

In fact, we must go forward and protect all victims of violence – and S.
1925 does this. Many victims, women and men, have not been able to get
help in the past and it is important to extend protections to victims of
crime including immigrant victims who assist law enforcement, victims on
tribal lands regardless of who assaults them, and all individuals
regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The time has come to
again reauthorize this critical legislation. ****

Sincerely,****

[Name, Title, Organization, Contact Info]****

If you want to write you own Op Ed or Letter to the Editor, here are some
tips from NTF:****

*Tips on Writing a Successful Op-ed Piece on VAWA Reauthorization*

Most daily and weekly newspapers accept op-ed submissions for publication.
They are called op-ed articles because they commonly appear on the opposite
page from the editorial page. Longer than letters to the editor, op-ed
pieces generally are between 500 and 700 words. Most newspapers publish
op-ed guidelines, including maximum length and methods of submission, on
their websites. Be sure to include contact information for the op-ed’s
author or signatory on any submission. If a paper decides to publish an
op-ed, they typically contact the submitter to verify its authenticity and
to secure permission to print it. Note that papers usually reserve the
right to edit any submission before publishing it. ****

** **

Here are some tips on writing an op-ed:****

- Use short, simple sentences. Be simple without being simplistic.****
- Avoid jargon or terms that only advocates would be familiar with. ****
- Avoid using acronyms and abbreviations (e.g. VAWA). Instead, spell it
out or use terms like “legislation” or “Act.”****
- Use colorful language, clich├ęs, metaphors and/or analogies. ****
- Use absolute terms like “first-ever,” “never before,” and “second to
none.”****
- Explicitly support VAWA’s swift reauthorization.****
- Consider a call to action. What can readers do should they feel
compelled to take action after reading your op-ed?****
- Without compromising confidentiality or safety, personalize the op-ed
with a specific anecdote about how VAWA has helped an individual or group.
****
- Link the op-ed to a current news story – local, regional or national.**
**
- If you use statistics or dollar amounts, make them meaningful. Large
or small numbers are more meaningful when readers can connect them to
something they already know. For example, “enough people to fill Valley
High School’s football stadium,” or “the same amount of money the
government spent on one dump truck.”****
- Give VAWA a human face. Rather than getting into too many legislative
details, it’s important for readers to understand that VAWA is more than
words on a page; it affects people’s lives every day. ****

Suggested Outline for an Op-ed:****

**· **Start with a short anecdote or a current news story
commentary. The first few sentences are critical to catching a reader’s
interest and compelling them to read more. ****

**· **Make your most important point in the first or second
paragraph.****

**· **Describe two or three supporting points in the following
paragraphs. Use meaningful facts, statistics, and studies to support your
points. ****

**· **Conclude with a paragraph that draws the piece together and
links to your opening anecdote or current events commentary.**

*Action 3: Senators will be home for two weeks starting this Friday. ** If
your Senator is one of the 39 who is NOT a sponsor of VAWA, find out where
they will be during the break and/or call their office today (**
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm*<http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm>
*) and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1925. **If they are unable or unwilling to
add their name as a co-sponsor, ask them to at least vote for cloture
(needs 60 votes) so that the bill can come to the Senate floor for
amendments, debate and a final vote for passage.* * ***

*Here is your message: **“A lot of misinformation is being circulated by
the bills detractors about S. 1925, the real VAWA. I want to set the
record straight:
1.** **Since VAWA first passed, the number of individuals killed by an
intimate partner has decreased by 34% for women and 57% for men. VAWA has
saved lives while saving money, saving $12.6 billion in its first 6 years
alone.
2. ** **S. 1925** saves money by consolidating and repealing more than 15
programs, ensuring more funding will go directly to needed victim services
rather than grant administration.
3. ** **S. 1925** adopts almost word-for-word the accountability measures
developed by Senator Grassley for the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization
Act.
4. ** **S. 1925** does not create “new victims” or support “special
interests.” The real VAWA protects all victims of these crimes, regardless
of their age, gender, race, citizenship, sexuality, or faith.
5. Our nation must not say, "There are too many victims” or “You are not
the ‘right’ kind of victim.” All victims of domestic violence, dating
violence, sexual assault, and stalking deserve help. That’s what S. 1925,
the real VAWA, does. Please support VAWA’s reauthorization. Thank you.” *

Please contact these senators – they are either former sponsors* or have
expressed interest or support for VAWA currently or in the past:****

* *Cochran, Thad * <http://www.cochran.senate.gov>*- (R - MS) **(202)
224-5054* Judiciary LA: Carlisle Clarke, Women's Issues LA: Elyse Marcellino
**

* *Cornyn, John * <http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/>*- (R - TX) **202) 224-2934
* Judiciary LA: Matt Johnson, Women's Issues LA: Michelle Chin ****

* *Hutchison, Kay Bailey * <http://www.hutchison.senate.gov/>*- (R -
TX) **(202)
224-5922** *Judiciary and Women’s issues LA: Jenifer Healy****

*Alexander, Lamar * <http://www.alexander.senate.gov/>*- (R – TN **(202)
224-4944* Judiciary LA: Peter Oppenheim, Women's Issues LA: Mary-Sumpter
Lapinski ****

*Enzi, Michael B. * <http://www.enzi.senate.gov>*- (R - WY) **(202) 224-3424
* Judiciary LA: Wendy Gnehm, Women's Issues LA: Travis Jordan **

*Graham, Lindsey * <http://www.lgraham.senate.gov/>*- (R - SC) **(202)
224-5972* Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Walt Kuhn**

*Kyl, Jon * <http://www.kyl.senate.gov/>*- (R - AZ) **(202) 224-4521**
*Judiciary
LA: Stephen Higgins, Women's Issues LA: Elizabeth Maier **

*Lugar, Richard G. * <http://www.lugar.senate.gov/>*- (R – IN) **(202)
224-4814* Judiciary and Women’s Issues LA: Joe O'Donnell****

*McConnell, Mitch <http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/>*- (R - KY)
Minority Leader
(202) 224-2541 Judiciary LA: Russell Coleman, Women’s, Native American and*
***

Child/Family Issues LA: Sarah Arbes ****

*Moran, Jerry* <http://www.moran.senate.gov>- (R - KS) (202) 224-6521
Judiciary
LA: Darby O'Donnell, Women: Brian Perkins, Native American Affairs: Jesse
Rundle ****

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQMRubScHvs****

*Portman, Rob** **- (R - OH) * *(202) 224-3353* Judiciary and Women’s
Issues LA: Aja Brooks, Native American Affairs LA: Stephen Kittredge ****

*Risch, James E. <http://www.risch.senate.gov>- (R – ID **(202)
224-2752** *Judiciary
LA: Brianne Miller,Women LA: Rebecca Cotton, Native American LA: Darren
Parker ****

*Toomey, Patrick J. <http://www.toomey.senate.gov/>- (R - PA)* *(202)
224-4254* Judiciary & Women LA: Tessie Abraham, Native American Affairs LA:
Mitch Vidovich ****

Check our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and
updates: *www.4vawa.org* <http://www.4vawa.org>****

Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and
other action and information items: http://on.fb.me/NTF_Facebook_page****

Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and
#VAWA.****

If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your
staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list,
send names and contact information including email to Sean Black,
sblack@icasa.org.****

HASC promotes seva, tradition and social justice

Hindu American Seva Charities is working hard to bring the Hindu Seva and
social justice voice to the forefront, nationally, in many arenas. HASC
is working to make service and volunteering a defining part of Hindu
American life and culture. Our goal is to increase civic engagement, to
increase and promote volunteering and interfaith collaboration while
addressing our nation's needs and social justice issues. Below are a few
recent examples:

*ODYSSEY NETWORK*

HASC is working with the Military families and with Captain Pratima
Dharm to support their needs at the base and is advocating development of
more "Seva Centers" in temples for this effort. HASC's goal is to empower
the community and address concerns at the local and national levels. As
a member of the Odyssey Network, a media organization delivering videos of
interfaith news beyond the headlines and inspirational stories of faith in
action, HASC is working to accomplish this goal. Here is the voice of the
First Hindu Chaplain in the US Army.

http://odysseynetworks.org/video/us-armys-first-hindu-chaplain

*Department of Health And Human Services (hhs)*

HASC is working with the Department of Health and Human Services to
promote yoga from a Hindu perspective. In collaboration with Dr. Dilip
Sarkar, Eddie Stern, Dr. M.G. Prasad, and Dr. Sane, HASC has provided a
brief primer on yoga from a Hindu perspective to HHS. Last summer, HASC
promoted the YogaPala Challenge nationally and in 2009 conducted a national
yogathon with temples across the country to celebrate Janamashti, honoring
the greatest Yogi - Krishna. Health for Humanity conducts annual
yogathons at Makar Sankranti, in honor of the sun's northern trajectory,
symbolizing light (sun) coming into our lives. The recent HHS
blog highlights our collective efforts.

Read more about it in Communities on the
Move<http://www.hhs.gov/partnerships/letsmove/communities_on_the_move/inde...>

http://www.hhs.gov/partnerships/letsmove/communities_on_the_move/inde...

*SOCIAL JUSTICE:*

HASC joins renewed call
to<https://docs.google.com/a/hinduamericanseva.org/file/d/0Bwlxj5pIr0I-Y...>
Congress
to reauthorize the*
*<https://docs.google.com/a/hinduamericanseva.org/file/d/0Bwlxj5pIr0I-Y...>Violence
Against Women Act of 1994

HASC endorses Interfaith Moral Action
<http://www.interfaithactiononclimatechange.org/index.html>on Climate

HASC joins over 110 Groups to Urge
<https://docs.google.com/open?id=1ambIjc8GTkNMekDai-1EtvVJ3d-pl-HA8ZEN...>U.S.
Attorney General Eric Holder to Open an Investigation of NYPD

*Stay tuned for our upcoming briefings and conferences with the White House:
*
April 20th: Strengthening Dharmic Places of Worship
August 3rd: Hindu American Future: Seva, Innovation and Tradition

Rotary Club Talk: How can Community Oriented CSR Enhance Indian Businesses Globally, an interfaith approach

Last December I was invited by Madras Rotary Club in Chennai, India to come  and share the seva work. I talked about how Community Oriented CSR can  Enhance Indian Businesses Globally, in an interfaith manner. I shared our  historic White House conference and seva journey from an American context.
We hope this will help our global community develop bridges through civic engagement. This discussion with the Rotarians provides an overview  of HASC's efforts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4igX2gopg00

Please do share your thoughts.

HASC announces partnership with Kansas Leadership Center to build seva capacity through civic leadership education

Hindu American Seva Charities announces a partnership with Kansas Leadership Center, a leadership development organization with the charge of cultivating civic leadership throughout Kansas. The Leadership & Faith program of  Multi-Faith Teams offers a unique opportunity designed for Kansas faith congregations that want to make their communities healthier and more prosperous.

HASC is initially sponsoring 10 Kansas community leaders to participate in this historic, first of its kind training program.  It will give them a 
  • A chance to align their walk of faith  - Hindu - with opportunities to improve community life.
  • Civic leadership education that prepares them to make progress on the issues important to their Hindu and interfaith congregations. 
  • The opportunity to work with others in the Hindu congregation/temple to make a difference on critical community health issues.
KLC's programs align with HASC's efforts to develop seva/civic capacity among our community.  We thank Rema Venkatasubban for her efforts in bringing this partnership to fruition and welcome Sanjay Shah as the Seva coordinator in Wichita, Kansas.  Sanjay will work with diverse Hindu and Interfaith organizations to address critical needs of Wichita and Kansas. Through the seva efforts the voice of the community is getting heard.

See our Huffington Post blog describing some of the effort:  Transforming Communities: Siva Principle of Change in Action