Sadhana Commits to Lokasamgraha In This Time of Social Crisis

Lokasamgraha means welfare of and justice for all people and the world.

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus is saddened to see and hear that in his first few days as President, Donald Trump has signed executive orders that would slash the rights of immigrants and women, have deleterious effects on our climate, and take away healthcare from those who need it.

On Monday, Trump reinstated the global gag rule also known as the “Mexico City Policy,” which means that millions of women across the world will lose access to safe abortion and birth control; thousands could die as a result. The rule has gotten in the way of HIV prevention efforts, contributed to the closing of health clinics, obstructed rural communities from accessing healthcare, and has the potential to hinder the speed and effectiveness of humanitarian aid.  In a further act against women, Trump is calling for the elimination of 25 of the grant programs managed by the Office of Violence Against Women housed at the Department of Justice. These grants go to organizations working to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and elder abuse, including many organizations that Sadhana has collaborated with to promote gender equity and prevent domestic violence in our community. Without this funding, groups like ours could be less equipped to help survivors of domestic violence and abuse to begin the healing process and rebuild their lives.

Trump also signed executive orders to revive and encourage the development of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over the past few years, numerous diverse climate justice warriors, particularly indigenous and native peoples who have often faced broken promises from the US government, have, in full consciousness of protection for the most vulnerable lands and peoples of Bhumi-devi, or Mother Earth, have their put their bodies on the line to prevent these projects from moving forward. The Obama Administration responded to the climate justice movement by calling off key components of these projects, agreeing that the concerns of our planetary community must come first and foremost. The Trump Administration, to no surprise, has decided in the negative against the protection and flourishing of our planetary community. 

Anantanand Rambachan, esteemed Hindu scholar/practitioner, author of A Hindu Theology of Liberation, and advisory board member of Sadhana, tells us that "wealth, however, must always be pursued with attentiveness to dharma, which is, in its broadest sense, the regard for the well-being of the total community of living beings and the world of nature. Economic growth is desirable but cannot be measured only by profit. Its wider impact on human beings and on the environment must be taken into account. By the centrality given to dharma, the Hindu tradition obviously holds that wealth (artha) and dharma (virtue) can happily exist together. Fidelity to dharma requires the use of land, water, air, and other natural resources in ways that promote the well-being of all.

Sometime this week, Trump is expected to sign executive orders that would prevent Syrian and Muslim immigrants from entering the United States. The policy would halt admissions from Syria and suspend admission from other Muslim-majority nations until the Trump administration can study how to vet these countries. This means there will be many displaced people who can no longer take refuge on American soil. While the consequences of the executive orders remain to be seen, what they will do is convey to an entire faith community that they simply do not belong in the United States. These orders could contribute to further attacks and hate towards our Muslim brothers and sisters. Since Trump’s inauguration, we have already seen this hate manifest towards our dear sister Linda Sarsour, a co-organizer of the Women’s March on Washington D.C., who is the subject of Islamophobic attacks all over social media and in the press. Sadhana will not stand for this, or any type of hate, especially based on faith.

Last Saturday, the White House website eliminated pages devoted to the climate, to the LGBT community, to indigenous people, to healthcare, and also removed the Spanish language version – this all signifies the lack of importance being placed on these critical issue areas and vulnerable communities. Sadhana fully condemns these rash decisions by Trump which do nothing in the short-term or long-term for the social, economic, and ecologic well-being of anyone affected. Hindus worldwide follow the principle of vasudhaiva-kutumbakam, in which all living beings on this planet, beyond any oppressive designations concerning race, caste, or species, are seen as one beloved family, one beloved community. The actions of the Trump administration bely and defy this understanding of our Earthly unity, and we join with the worldwide justice movement in resisting these actions in seva of Mother Earth and her most vulnerable inhabitants. Taken together, the executive orders and budget cuts that Trump has proposed send a clear message: America’s most vulnerable come last. We loudly reject this message and commit to speaking out against it. Sadhana marched in solidarity with women and men around the world last Saturday and each step fueled our continued commitment to fighting tooth and nail for our democracy.

To this end, Sadhana encourages you to get involved in any efforts to speak up for justice and democracy. Here are some immediate ways to do so:

Attend the Emergency Rally for Muslims and Immigrants being held tonight, January 25th, at Washington Square Park (5 Avenue, Waverly Place, West 4th and MacDougal Streets) from 5pm to 8pm, or Hate Free Zone: Love and Protect Each Other rally being held in Brooklyn tonight from 5pm-7pm (Avenue C Plaza, between McDonald Avenue and Avenue C, Brooklyn, NY 11218).

Attend the Emergency Action #NODAPL #NO KWL: Sign of Resistance event at Grand Central Terminal  (87 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017) tonight, January 25th, at 5pm.

Sign the #IMarchWithLinda Petition

Sign the Do Not Stop Refugee Resettlement Petition.