Hindu American Foundation launches ‘I Am Hindu American’ campaign

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A worker at a jewellery showroom displays gold idols of Hindu elephant god Ganesh (L) and Hindu goddess Lakshmi in Kolkata August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

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

The 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.

According to a press release, the interactive platform will encourage Hindu Americans to upload a photo of them and share how Hinduism inspires them in their everyday lives.

The goal of the platform is to boost awareness and clarify common stereotypes and misunderstandings about Hinduism through social media networks nationwide.

“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. 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,” Suhag Shukla, the executive director and co-founder of HAF, is quoted saying in a press release.

“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,” the press release added.

According to statistics released by the FBI earlier this month, hate crimes have increased by about 17 percent in 2017 as compared to 2016.

Thus, another goal of the “I Am Hindu American” campaign is to “educate about Hinduism during a period where the country has seen a rise in religious intolerance,” the HAF added.

Dena Merriam, a leader in the interfaith movement states, “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.”

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