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HSS youth volunteers received 2023 Service Above Self MLK Youth Leadership Award

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA

On January 16th, 2023, ‘Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, USA, (HSS) Youths’ received the ‘2023 Service Above Self MLK Youth Leadership Award’ from Aurora (IL) Mayor Richard Irvin. This award was given to youth groups and youth leaders for their Community Service and efforts in promoting ‘Diversity-Equity-Inclusion’ (DEI). HSS Youth received this award for their food drives, highway cleanup, cultural education and, honoring of school teachers & first responders, and other service activities in 2022. 

Since its inception in 1989, HSS has focused on inculcating its members to practice universal values of Hinduism, such as humanity, equality, inclusivity, and serving the needy in the society they belong to. Over the years, HSS, through its local chapters and members, has worked for society by conducting food drives, cleanup projects, health awareness events, tutoring, and helping people during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently with government authorities to conduct successful vaccination drives.  

HSS youth that received the award observed that the award was only an acknowledgment of being part of the society and that, just like MLK said,  “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now,” and that serving society was more fulfilling than the award itself. 

HSS volunteers at Roseville & Rocklin, California, celebrated MLK day with the local community and community leaders. They also helped the event organizers in the setup and cleanup. The youth chanted Hindu prayers for “peace for all and unity”, which were appreciated by the participants. 

The Lewisville community in North Texas celebrated the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This year the theme was “Living the Dream: It Takes a Team.”  Hindu Education Foundation (HEF), a project of HSS, continued the partnership with the MLK committee of North Texas to co-sponsor and co-host the event this year in collaboration with the local school district. The event was attended by elected officials from 3 neighboring towns and the school district superintendent.  This civic event is planned as a non-political inter-Faith event to celebrate the ideals of Dr. King, such as eliminating all forms of prejudice, equality of races, equality of gender, sustainable development, and international peace. 

HSS Dallas team partnered with African American museum in a Realizing the Dream – Healthy Expo. The HSS volunteers conducted a few sessions of Yoga and SNY, explaining the simple breathing techniques, their benefits, and how they can be practiced. Many people attended and gave very positive feedback. 

HSS member and volunteer Mr. J. R. Sandadi was invited by the Indiana Christian Leadership Conference (ICLC) to represent the Hindu community for the 54th  MLK Day celebration service at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. Mr. Sandadi, expressing his gratitude for Martin Luther King Jr., spoke on this occasion and offered a Hindu prayer of peace and unity for all. Sharing his experience, Mr. Sandadi quoted MLK, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” He further said, “MLK’s inspiration is not limited to a day, but is experienced all the time while serving the society.”


Vikas Deshpande
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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