Day One: September 15, 7:30p ET

Hindu Human Rights Around the World: Under Siege, Under Threat, Under Lockdown

Join experts who will explore the historical and modern-day persecution of Hindus in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, as well as evolving threats to Hindu communities from South Asian to South America, and around the world.

PANELISTS

Ashok Karmaker, Esq., Chairman of the Board of Governors, Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council USA.

Based in New York City, Mr. Karmaker is an attorney with a private practice largely focused on asylum and other immigration issues. Prior to coming to the United States, Mr. Karmaker worked as a judge for nearly 5 years as a member of the judiciary of Bangladesh, and later served 3 years as the Counsel Officer of the Honorable Minister for Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs of Bangladesh. Mr. Karmaker holds a Masters in Human Rights from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, and LLM from the Columbia University Law School and is a member of the New York Bar.

Dr. Rubina Greenwood., Chairwoman, World Sindhi Congress (UK, USA, Canada); Founder, International Sindhi Women Organization, UK.

Dr. Rubina Greenwood is the Chairwoman of the World Sindhi Congress (UK, USA and Canada) and Founder of International Sindhi Women Organisation,UK. She is also a founding member of Sindhi Baloch Forum, UK. As a human rights campaigner, Dr. Greenwood has been raising awareness about the human rights situation in Sindh at international platforms since the late 1990s. She is a regular presenter at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Parliament. Her work mainly focuses on marginalisation of indegenous Sindhis including lesser minorities of Sindh and their civil, political and development rights within Pakistan. Dr. Greenwood was born in Shikarpur (Sindh) and she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Dr. Greenwood is currently working as a Head of Digital Railway Systems at Network Rail, UK.

Samir Kalra, Esq., Managing Director, Hindu American Foundation (moderator).

Based in the Bay Area, CA, Samir Kalra holds a JD from Santa Clara University School of Law. Mr. Kalra leads the Foundation’s human rights advocacy efforts and has served as a panelist at the National Press Club and multiple Congressional briefings on human rights and religious freedom in South Asia. In January 2013, Mr. Kalra conducted a one week human rights fact finding mission at refugee camps in Jodhpur, India that house Pakistani Hindu refugees. He authored the Foreword for a book on Bangladesh entitled A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: The Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus.

Due to an emergency scheduling conflict, Ambassador Sandhu is no longer available to address our Advocacy Forum.

Day Two: September 16, 7:30p ET

Hinduism in Your Neighborhood: Local and State Issues Affecting Hindu Americans

Join panelists who will discuss pressing issues impacting Hindu Americans at the state level, such as textbook reform in California, swastika hate symbols legislation in New York, and Hinduism on American college campuses. Discover ways different communities have advanced and promoted the powerful messages of Hinduism, its rich history and contributions to humanity, and sacred celebrations in their local communities.

PANELISTS

Speaker Carl Heastie (D-NY)

Carl E. Heastie is the 100th Speaker of the New York State Assembly. He has the historic distinction of being the first African-American to serve as leader of the Chamber’s 150 members representing communities across the state of New York. Speaker Heastie represents the 83rd A.D. in the northeast Bronx and was first elected to the Assembly in 2000. During his time in the New York State Assembly, Heastie has championed solutions to major issues facing the state, such as K-12 and higher education reforms, health and human services legislation, labor reform, transportation, combating domestic violence, and empowering the youth. He earned a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from Baruch College of CUNY and a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and statistics from Stony Brook University (SUNY).

Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-MI), Member of the Michigan State Assembly.

The first Indian immigrant and Hindu in the State Legislature, in 2018 Padma Kuppa was elected to Michigan’s 41st House District, which encompasses the cities of Troy and Clawson. For over 20 years Kuppa has worked as an engineer and project manager in the automotive, financial, and IT industries. A former Board Member of HAF, Kuppa is also an active leader in her community, volunteering with the PTA throughout her children’s K-12 education, founding the Troy-area Interfaith Group, and serving on Troy’s Planning Commission. She is currently President of the Troy Historical Society and a board member of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. She currently serves as Assistant Minority Whip for the Michigan House Democrats.

Amy Feinman, Esq., Northeast Area Civil Rights Counsel, Anti-Defamation League.

Amy Feinman, Esq. oversees ADL’s civil rights work in 13 states and advises five of ADL’s regional offices (New England, Connecticut, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC) on core civil rights equities, including countering anti-Semitism and hate, fighting bigotry and discrimination, safeguarding religious freedom and the separation of church and state, and promoting immigrant and refugee rights. Prior to joining ADL, Amy worked as a litigation associate at the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP in Boston, where she maintained an active pro bono practice focused on education equity and juvenile justice cases. Amy is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 2012 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Suhag Shukla, Esq., Executive Director and Co-Founder, Hindu American Foundation (moderator).

Suhag Shukla holds a BA in Religion and JD from the University of Florida. Ms. Shukla has helped steer the Foundation to being recognized as a leading voice for civil rights, human rights, and religious freedom. She’s been instrumental in the development of a broad range of educational materials and position papers and blogs for a variety of platforms. Ms. Shukla is actively involved with Chinmaya Mission, serves on the board of the Bhutanese American Organization of Philadelphia, and is a thought partner for the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia’s Paths to Understanding Public Art Initiative. Shukla is a member of the board for the National Museum of American Religion and serves on religious advisory committees for the Council on Foreign Relations, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Subcommittee for the Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-Based Communities and is a member of the First Amendment Center’s Committee on Religious Liberty and the United Nations Women’s Gender Equality and Religion platform.

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