June 2nd, 2020
  Dear Friend,
A Prayer for Our Times

As I reflect on the events of the last several weeks, I am drawn to Rabindranath Tagore’s stirring prayer:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
 Where knowledge is free;
 Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
 Where words come out from the depth of truth;
 Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
 Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
 Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
 Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
While tempting to turn to prayer, the recent events call for reflection, learning and action. The continued acts of violence against people of color is unacceptable and inexcusable. We are saddened by the countless lives taken and the racist incidents across the country. That is not enough. Today we have to rise up and stand in solidarity with the Black community and say together that Black Lives Matter.
We are an organization of immigrants whose mission includes building bridges with the communities we live in. In this moment we need to reflect on the privileges we enjoy from equitable immigration, an outcome of the Civil Rights Movement. We need to reexamine our own biases which, while different and based on our own cultural roots, also colors our interactions with other people of color. We need to reaffirm our commitment to work toward a more fair, equitable and just society in the country we have adopted.

Many of us grew up outside America. Our individual experiences have shaped our perceptions of our adopted home. However, this is a time to broaden our knowledge and to examine our own biases. With that in mind, some of our volunteers and board members have contributed to building a reading list below. These links are not as an endorsement of the authors, but differing perspectives that we hope will inform your own opinions. We encourage you to begin your own conversations with your family and friends about the current state of racism in our country and the path forward.

For our youth, I know that these conversations have already started. We will include their own activities and perspectives in our next issue of eSandesh.

ISW has been and is committed to serving every part of our community, regardless of language, religion or ethnicity. We will also continue to remain true to our founding principle as a non-political organization while we redouble our efforts to build bridges with the communities we live in, including the Black and LatinX communities.

I hope you will join us in this conversation as we continue to pray for good health, peace and a more equitable future for all of us.
Ashish Cowlagi
President, India Society of Worcester 

A Suggested Reading List

[Thanks to many friends, board members and volunteers for their help in building this conversation and in helping find resources.]

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India Society of Worcester
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