FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2020
Indian American Social Justice and Human Rights activists from diverse backgrounds celebrated the 74th independence day of India that was shadowed and subdued by the coronavirus and searing questions of India’s commitment to social justice and religious freedom. There was a sombre reflection on the words of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the peaceful non-violent movement for independence, who had said that “A nation does not belong to any particular religion or sect. It should be absolutely independent of either.” These words echo with a new urgency today, especially for India’s Minorities who played a crucial role in India’s independence, but now find themselves being pushed to the margins of mainstream society.
In recent years, the international order of the late twentieth century has come under increasing pressure with nationalism on the rise that is affecting religious freedom and human rights.
Having subscribed for long to the virtues of pluralism, tolerance, and respect of human rights in the land of their ancestors (India) and in their present homeland (USA), several Indian American social justice activists from diverse backgrounds pledged and launched the India America Center for Social Justice (IACSJ), a non-partisan social welfare organization with the aim to advocate for social justice, religious freedom, and human rights for India’s minorities, the caste-oppressed, and for those who find themselves pushed to the margins of mainstream society. IACSJ was launched on August 15th 2020, accepting fully the symbolic significance of the day in Indian history, and pledging to safeguard the common values that bind the world’s two largest secular democracies (India and USA).
The mission of IACSJ is “to advocate for social justice, religious freedom, and human rights for India’s minorities and the caste-oppressed.”
The vision of IACSJ is to ensure inclusive and tolerant societies grounded in respect for human rights and rule of law, whose governments are accountable and adhere to democratic governance in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on religion, race, or ethnicity.
- To protect religious freedom, human rights, and other constitutional guarantees afforded to the minorities and the marginalized in India.
- To bring to fore attempts by political and non-political actors that aim to undermine those constitutional guarantees.
- To work with elected representatives, think-tanks, human rights organizations, civil society, and media to educate, inform, and highlight issues of concern of U.S.-based Indian Americans.
- To engage in evidence-based research to combat hateful ideologies and policy-driven solutions to advocate and achieve social justice and uplift the minorities and the marginalized communities for a better future.
- To work with civil society groups, paralegals, human rights, and social justice advocates to provide assistance to those who face discrimination and prejudice purely for who they are.
In the United States, religious freedom is a fundamental human right that is at the core of the American way of life. It is a vital element of national security, critical to ensuring a more peaceful, prosperous, and stable world. The US is safer when fundamental rights are protected worldwide.
IACSJ was formed out of a dire need to petition the US government and lobby our elected representatives to protect and advance religious freedom as a fundamental human right by foregrounding it as a necessary component of US foreign policy and as America’s commitment to defending democracy and freedom globally.
IACSJ works with a broad coalition of Indian American, Civil Rights, and Human Rights organizations. IACSJ’s work is crucial as we are engaged in a vital struggle, in a brutal time to protect basic rights. You can contribute to IACSJ online here.
IACSJ is a 501c4 organization with Tax-Id 85-1444234. Contributions to IACSJ are not tax-deductible, but it has a partner 501c3 organization where contributions are fully tax-deductible as allowed by the IRS.