HSS celebrated Black History Month along with prominent members of the
African American community
ROCKAWAY, N.J. — Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, USA (HSS) celebrated Black History Month along with prominent members of the African American community in New Jersey, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, California, and Oregon. HSS shakhas (chapters) hosted these community leaders as guest speakers to learn more about Black history to draw inspiration for its activities and social causes. Children, youth, and adult participants of HSS listened intently and honored the speakers in the Hindu way.
Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in the history of the United States. Since 1976, every US President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. For the past few years, HSS has been regularly engaging with the African American community as part of its mission to educate on Hindu Dharma and its values and to foster peace and well-being in American society. Very recently, HSS celebrated Martin Luther King Day around the country participating in many African American events, espousing shared values, and teaching Yoga.
In HSS’ Aurora-Naperville chapter, Clayton Mohammad, Aurora City’s Chief Communications & Equity Officer, delivered a presentation on ‘The Impact of Black Inventions & Ingenuity on Aurora, America and Across the Globe’. Clayton’s own life story and his examples of Black American history gave tremendous insights to HSS youth and adults alike. HSS and Sewa International of Dallas jointly hosted a discussion with four senior African American leaders in McKinney. They were musician and author – Eric Willis, founder of Defy the Odds – David A. Gethers, Sr. Executive Director of Community Care Resource Council – Karl Berry, and Dr. Glen Jones. The event culminated with a tour of the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco.
In an event organized by HSS’ Concord chapter in North Carolina, Willie Fleming, the Founder and President of International Minority Coalition (IMC), called the gesture to celebrate Black History Month and recognize the struggles of the African American community as a “great step forward”. In another event organized by HSS and Hindu Society of North Carolina, four speakers from different streams, including religious, social service, and political, shared their experiences and challenges.
District Court Judge, Shante Burke-Hayer thanked the organizers and appealed for unity to solve issues facing the community. In Oregon, HSS Community Relations Manager, Hiral Pandya, joined Governor Tina Kotek to sign the proclamation recognizing Black History Month. Hiral is Commissioner on the board of the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, which sponsored the proclamation. In South Jersey, HSS’ Pranavananda shakha hosted Tangie Cobb along with North Brunswick Township Council President, Rajesh Mehta. Tangie is a theater performer and works for the NB Police Department. She shared insights into African American history with the participants, and also sang the Black African American National Anthem.
Over 90 members of HSS’ Roseville chapter in California hosted Twiana Armstrong, a businesswoman, community influencer, and founder of the non-profit, seeMYchild. She spoke about societal biases and her own experiences overcoming them, and also participated in the exercises and interactive sessions with children and their parents. The Edison NJ chapter of HSS celebrated Black History Month by inviting the Community Oriented Policing Unit of Edison. Four police officers of African American, Indian, Chinese, and Pakistani origins spoke about the importance of diversity and representation in law enforcement, personal safety tips, and upcoming community policing programs. The Folsom CA chapter of HSS invited Citrus Heights councilwoman, Porsche Middleton to their Black History Month celebration. Porsche spoke about the importance of history and culture and shared her journey to become the only Black woman, who served as Mayor in the Sacramento area thus far. Encouraging the women in the audience to get involved in the community, she said, “Women bring a sense of voice and a sense of pragmatism”.
Through the celebration of Black History Month, HSS members all over the country gained profound admiration and inspiration from the African American community’s struggles and historical contributions to America. It remains grateful to our honored guests and wishes to continue building a strong engagement with the community in the coming days!
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA
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