Proclamation also thanks HAF for continued community advocacy and education work over the past decade
On April 18, 2023 the city of Fremont, California issued a proclamation noting that despite considerable social and economic contributions of Hindu Americans to the city, Hindus have been targeted in a number of recent hate crimes and other bias-motivated incidents, and that the city condemns this rise in Hinduphobia.
The proclamation, read out by Mayor Lili Mei, concludes by thanking the Hindu American Foundation “for their advocacy in educating the public about Hindu and Hindu American issues, and their support for ensuring the well-being of all people and the planet.”
Receiving the proclamation for HAF was Managing Director Samir Kalra, who offered the following extemporaneous remarks:
“As a native of Fremont, I am very proud that our city has come together today to condemn hate, whether its Hinduphobia or any other hate. I’m here not just as a representative of the Hindu American Foundation, but on behalf of the entire Hindu American community that is gathered here today. Thank you so much everyone for coming, and to all the wonderful organizations: COHNA, HSS, Fremont Hindu Temple, Americans for Hindus, and many others. We applaud your efforts in coming out. Thank you again to Fremont for recognizing that hate will not be tolerated in our city. And that we stand united in combating Hinduphobia and other forms of hate.”
Notable among the many community members, and representatives of Hindu American community groups present who received the proclamation with Kalra, were Dr. Romesh Japra, prominent leader of the Hindu community, Rakhi Israni from Sewa USA, and Krishnan Iyer. Iyer was himself the victim of a nationally-publicized Hinduphobic incident in a Fremont Taco Bell, during which many anti-Hindu slurs and epithets were used against him, all of it caught on video.
On Iyer’s participation in the event, Kalra noted:
“We’re so proud of him for standing up bravely through that. He has been a voice for our community.”
HAF’s work on highlighting the contribution of Hindu Americans to US society through proclamations and resolutions such as this one dates back to 2013, when the first Hindu American Appreciation and Awareness Month declaration was made in California.
Since then HAF has continuously provided materials to the community, freely available for anyone to copy and use, so that they can get local HAAAM resolutions enacted.