In honor of George Floyd.
Over the past few months, our lives have changed drastically as a result of COVID-19. Just as we were getting acclimated to this new reality, the ugly head of racism and bigotry came back to our national attention.
As a non-profit, the North Bay Hindu Center has a responsibility to our community but we must also stand together with communities in need. To our black sisters and brothers, whose ancestors helped build this country, whose Civil Rights movement allowed for our immigration to America, yet who face the reality of systemic racism on a daily basis, we kneel with you.
The North Bay is not home to a large black population, but did help raise one of the most profound black voices, Tupac Shakur. Tupac lived in Marin City and attended Tamalpais High School. "You wouldn't ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love it's will to reach the sun. Well, we are the rose - this is the concrete - and these are my damaged petals."
In order to help them reach the sun, I have thought of how we, as a non-profit, can help make a difference in black lives. This thought was in the back of my mind when I was reading a story of “The Hunter and the Doves” to my grandkids from the Panchatantra collection of Indian folklore and short stories that have a moral message.
In search of food, a flock of doves find some grains on the ground. In their attempt to eat, they are trapped by a hunter's net. A wise dove advises each dove to clutch a part of the net and fly together in unison, carrying the net with them. The surprised hunter could not catch them as they flew to their friend, the mouse. The mouse happily nibbled at the net and one by one, all the doves were happily freed. They thanked the mouse and flew together to their destination.
Recently, we found ways to apply this story to overcome the burden of COVID-19. We came together as a community to:
work with NBIAA in SEWA Internationa's efforts to secure PPE equipment for Marin County
stitch and donate masks to local community drives
join hands with NBIAA to organize bi-monthly meditation sessions led by Dr. Ram Rao and facilitated by Dr. Ketan Mehta and Dr. Paulomi Shah
conduct a virtual Ram Navami celebration in April
Now, we must apply this story to helping the black community and addressing systemic racism in general. The NBHC Board will be actively pursuing a renewed call to address this in the coming weeks and months and looks forward to sharing this with all of you, starting with our quarterly newsletter in July. Any input and ideas from you are welcome. We strongly believe that unity is strength and together we are stronger. As a community, let us pray:
Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Niraamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
Om, May All be Happy,: May All be Free from Illness.
May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
In unity and solidarity,
Radhika Sitaraman, President
North Bay Hindu Center