Historical Victory for Hindu Americans in California Textbook RepresentationNovember 13, 2017 18:07
(Image source from: insidehighered.com)
Sacremento, CA Nov 11:
In a historic win for an accurate, equitable and culturally competent portrayal of Hinduism and India in CA textbooks, The Hindu American Community could win over CA Department of Education. This has been over a decade long constructive civic engagement for the two organizations.
The Department’s State Board of Education or the SBE voted unanimously in the first public hearing, and approved the positive edits as submitted by the Hindu American Community. In a plead to improve the portrayal of Hinduism and India in around 10 textbooks, also rejecting the two deeply disturbing textbook programs from grade 6 through 8 and K-6, the SBE took its first positive step towards giving due importance and appropriate cultural depiction to Hinduism.
"This is truly historic. After many years of civic engagement, Hindu-Americans have started to make themselves heard," said Shantharam Nekkar of Hindu Education Foundation USA. This organization is dedicated to further the understanding of rich and vibrant Indian civilization and Hinduism in America, where a large part of Hindu Indians reside. They also said, “We will continue to engage constructively and fight biases and prejudices against Hinduism and India.”
There were several letters and testimonies from Hindu Americans submitted to SBE, from not just Hindu Americans but also immigrant Hindus from Caribean, Fiji and India as well. Also a broad coalition of over 75 interfaith and community groups, some 17 state and Federal elected officials, also 38 leading academics sent letters to support the above cause.
This is a historic win for not just Hindu’s in CA but entire US and there were social media supports from public officials applauding and joining in with Hindu Indian Community and also their work towards getting accurate representation in CA textbooks.
Despite the SAHFA (South Asian Histories for All) disruptions at the 11th hour, including vitriolic bigoted and Hinduphobic statements, the SBE rebuffed it all. And the SAHFA went on with social media claims to sue the SBE.
“Despite the false claims of SAHFA, our broad interfaith coalition that represents individuals from all communities including Dalits, never tried to erase any community, caste, or religion’s history, and believe that all groups should be represented fairly in textbooks,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., Senior Director at the Hindu American Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group for the Hindu American community. “In fact, we asked that the contributions of Hindus of all backgrounds, including the spiritual traditions of Dalit Hindus, be acknowledged in textbooks. Most of the changes that SAHFA submitted were hateful and violate California law and the textbook framework.”
The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), a leading coalition partner said, in an official statement release “We are grateful for the testimonies from NAACP representatives and the Hispanic Chamber, along with strong letters of support from over 17 public officials. Together, we rallied over 1000 people to rally in this amazing showing of civic engagement and empowerment. Our voices were heard!”
CC Yin, Founder and Chairman of APAPA, added, “When we work together, we will win.”
This is a historical win for all Hindu Americans as the cultural and religious representation of Hinduism is a very important step for empowering strong Hindu Indian voices.
By Minu Manisha