On January 14, HAF held its first Chicago Meet and Greet event of the year, on the day of Makar Sankranti, at the Harisumiran Hindu Temple in Long Grove, IL. The event introduced the Hindu American Foundation to the Chicago area, our activities in the field of Hindu education and advocacy and shared the accomplishments of 2023, as well as plans for future activities.
Despite Chicago’s frigid temperatures, we had an excellent turn out: a total of 85 Hindu Americans attended this event! The event began with Deep Prajwalan. Ganesh Vandana was recited beautifully by Shikha ji Joshi. Representatives from Harisumiran Hindu mandir, Umiya Mataji Sansthan Chicago Midwest, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Hindu Satsang Group, Hindu SwayamSevak Sangh, Ekal Vidyalay, Maharashtra Mandal, Hindu Women’s Network, Vedic Sanatan Foundation, and many well wishers and supporters attended.
Midwest Regional Director, Yash Desai gave an overview of Hindu American Foundation, highlighting some of our top organizational achievements over our 20 year history:
Improving education about Hinduism is in 32 states, reaching more than 85,000 students, training more than 3400 teachers and 1360 professionals.
HAF’s work on honoring and recognizing the Hindu origins of yoga have reached more than 90 news organizations and websites.
Our summer internship program has empowered more than 50 young Hindus.
More than 2200 individuals have been certified Dharma Ambassadors or Dharma Advocates.
Our 12 annual human rights reports have documented the ongoing struggles that Hindus face in selected nations and regions where they are a minority. Our 30+ human rights advocacy campaigns have also highlighted these struggles and roused our elected officials to action. In the US, we’ve assisted more than 17,500 Bhutanese Hindu refugees preserve their culture and integrate into American life.
We’ve worked with the US Congress and FBI to gather and act on data about hate crimes directed at Hindus, as well as better monitor anti-Hindu hate across the nation.
HAF has successfully advocated for the first-ever recognition of Diwali in the US Congress.
Desai also highlighted some of the major accomplishments of just the past year in recognizing the significant contributions of Hindus to American society: 15 Mayoral Proclamations Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation (HAAAM) in October and 20 Proclamations in November were received, the attendees from all these events attended during Meet and Greet.
Our sincere thanks to Harisumiran Hindu Swaminarayan Mandir for sponsoring the first Hindu American community event!