August 07, 2017: It is estimated that over 500,000 Hindus live in New York City’s Metropolitan areas. The Hindus belong to different nationalities such as India, Bangladesh, Suriname, Trinidad, and Guyana.
All five boroughs of New York have the presence of Hindus, particularly Queens which has the largest Hindu population.
Hindu political rights, in the past few decades, have been ignored by prominent leaders and officials in New York.
With this issue in mind, Richard David- a young man- is running for the City Council elections. Richard is a Democratic candidate Richard David and is preparing to run for City Council from District 28, New York. A Hindu, although the name might not imply so, Richard David’s campaign is based on the promotion of Hindu political rights. A number of Hindu activists residing in the US have supported the campaign.
District 28 also has the largest Hindu population in the US and hence the most number of Mandirs (i.e., temples: Hindu places of worship).
It is a proud feeling to see the efforts of Richard David in setting up the agenda for equality through Hindu political rights.
Recently, Richard David released his campaign plans which are as follows:
Public Education and Hinduism:
One of the central pillars of Hinduism is its stress on Education. Vital to the progress and development of diverse communities of the city is the opportunity to learn. It is significant to be educated about the culture and Hindu faith. Richard David plans on establishing a Hindu school which would carry out the education on Hinduism and its philosophies. The campaign has worked out a feasible plan that would require the crucial support of the elected officials.
Prevention of Bullying:
Hindu children are frequently bullied in American schools for their religious background. This has adverse impacts on the well-being (physical and mental) of the child and further worries the parents. As a result of this, many Hindu families are insecure and uncomfortable in the foreign land. The Richard David campaign has formulated a tolerance program that can be worked out after-schools. It is the right approach to tackle the issue and teach respect and plurality.
An option of Vegetarian Food in Schools:
Vegetarianism is a strict principle for many Hindu followers. But this consideration is often not met in public places and events. Vegetarians do not account for secondary priority. While few options are available such as peanut butter sandwiches and salads, Hindu cuisines that make up a proper vegetarian meal is a conscious effort of the campaign.
Hindi as Foreign Language in Schools:
American schools hardly provide Hindi as a foreign language for many students who have a strong interest in the language. These kids are not only Indians but also South Asians and Indo Caribbeans who want to learn the language. The campaign seeks to add Hindi in the curriculum of foreign languages.
Indo Caribbeans and South Asian History:
The history of the Indo Caribbeans and South Asian region are rarely included in school papers. The omission of it from world history implies the ignorance towards Hindus in New York. This needs to be added so that history enthusiasts can know the significant events that shaped today’s South Asia.
The Festival of Diwali:
Diwali has been a part of discussions for far too long, yet no progress has been made to recognize the day as a holy event in school calendars. It is not only significant for Hindus, but also for Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. The campaign seeks to introduce holiday for the Holy festival.
A Seat at the Table:
The Hindus of New York are not represented successfully at the time of cultural events and festivals. Thus it becomes important to have a Hindu at the Seat of representation. A Hindu leader must be present at the platform for further discussions and dialogue.
Prayers offered at a Christian Chaplain serves as hope, particularly in prisons and hospitals. The campaign is also putting efforts to open the chaplains for Hindus seeking comfort.
Water Site for Offerings:
Offerings in the water is a vital aspect of Hindu lifestyle. As of now, these is no place alotted for the establishment of a water site for Hindus. Thus, there is an urgent need for such a site.
Honoring Hindu Contributions to the City of New York:
Hindus are contributing and doing much for New York City every day, but those individuals are not often acknowledged or publicly thanked and appreciated for their contributions. The recognition of these Hindu leaders in public life is important.
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