Past Events Reports
SW Participated with town officials at city of Worcester, Town of Shrewsbury & Town of Grafton along with other partner organizations(IAGB, BVIS) to hoist Indian National flag to celebrate India's 74 years of independence. The volunteers of ISW were on site along with city officials to hoist the flags and stream the event live of facebook. Check out the videos link here. Worcester, Shrewsbury
Thirty One years that’s how long we’ve been hosting India day at India Society of Worcester or ISW. What started back in 1989 in the halls of Worcester auditorium, no one could have imagined that one day it would be streaming live from someone’s home office, being watched by hundreds of people on their devices, enjoying amazing dancers perform in their living rooms, backyards, parks or sometime on the roads.
The year 2020 has shown us a new normal, in which ISW has broken all barriers to bring to the community not 1 or 2 but multiple live online events from Antakshri to art night to yoga and now a 3 day, 5 session virtual India Day event .
So once again from bottom of my heart thank you to all my fellow ISWers who made this event possible & to all the dancers, singers and teachers, to our community and above all to all of you the audience who boost our spirits by liking, sharing and commenting on our posts and videos and encouraging us to make ISW a home away from home for many of us. So with that I invite you to Please watch all the videos we are sharing in this special edition and share, comment and like us on FB. Check out our special India Day page.
Happy Independence Day Jai Hind.
Puneet Kohli, VP ISW, Chair India Day
Panel on '"Racial Solidarity as South Asians"
As part of India Day, a committee of young adults hosted a panel discussion on '"Racial Solidarity as South Asians". The group, called SAYAAA, are part of the second generation of ISW community members who on their own have raised their voices by organizing vigils, posting on FB and hosting podcasts and writing articles. They discussed how they educated themselves, strategies to combat racism and how to get more involved in the future. Click here to read more about the session, watch the panel video and take the survey if your would like to learn more and join.
SAAYA Committee: Shubh Agrawal, Keerthana Balakrishnan, Danush Chelladurai, Tanvi Jain, Aditya Khanna, Kavya Raghunathan, Aarshiya Sachdeva
Advisors: Raj & Shiamin Melville
SAYAA, South Asian Youth Activists and Allies
An Initiative by the new ISW Young Professionals group
We are excited to announce a new ISW group to reach out to young professionals of South Asian descent.
The first activity is committed to social justice and racial equity initiatives in the South Asian community. SAYAA, or "South Asian Youth Activists and Allies", is sending out a survey to gauge the interest in pursuing this endeavour. Click here to take it. SAAYA also plans to host an online discussion about these issues.
The group - through dialogues, education, disseminating of resources, and engaging with peers and the wider South Asian community - hopes to advance the mission of organizing social justice activism, standing in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) peers and self-reflecting on the community’s role in perpetuating injustice within the South Asian community.
The group is very interested in working with individuals ages 14-35. If one is outside this age range but would like to provide opinions/suggestions, one can still access the shared knowledge and resources. Please forward the survey to young professionals you might know. For any additional questions or information, please email: SAAYA@ISWOnline.org
Hope you and your family are doing well during these difficult times. Please let us know if ISW can do anything to help you in any way.
For the India Society, one of our biggest efforts this year is the expansion of the India Center. We were writing to give you an update on the progress.
India Center Construction:
After “Bhoomi Poojan” ceremony in October, we started full steam ahead on construction. The foundation was poured in December, steel for the building was ordered, and plans and paperwork for building permit were submitted to Town of Shrewsbury. The plan was to start the site work in March. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit us hard, all non-essential commercial construction was halted by orders of the Governor, permits were delayed, and work at ISW came to a screeching halt.
The Expansion Committee along with general contractor and architect continued to meet on a weekly basis, and the slowdown gave us an opportunity to make improvements, especially in design of the lobby that we have named India Pavilion, but overall construction plans suffered a significant setback. As phase two of reopening has started in Massachusetts, we are happy to inform you that we are back on track for construction. Town of Shrewsbury has issued the building permit. Remodeling of the old lobby is already underway. The steel structure will go up soon and current plans are to have the construction completed by November.
You can see more pictures and drone video of the construction made by our outgoing India Youth Group (IYG) president Raunit Kohli, here
Unfortunately, we have not been able to do much fundraising over last several months. Our plan was to focus our efforts on gala at Mechanics hall in June with a prominent Indian artist, but that has now postponed to at least 2021. Some of you have been extremely generous in their offer of providing us a loan, and we certainly intend to take advantage of that offer. At the same time, to ensure cash flow, we have signed up with DCU for a construction loan. We are hoping to minimize the amount that we have to borrow, and a lot will depend on funds received against our current pledges as well as new pledges we are able to generate.
We want to thank those of you who have shown great support of the project by making significant pledges. Many of you have made a full payment against your pledge and others are making payments over a three-year period.
Thank you again for your contributions!
Ashish Cowlagi, President ISW
Rajiv Dayal, Chair, Expansion Committee
Sanjay Shah, Chair, Fundraising Committee
ISW & Ekta Jain brings you Free Dance for fun virtual class. Join for an an hour of fun and exciting dance class. Learn at your own pace. See the details in the flyer below.
As I reflect on the events of the last several weeks, I am drawn to Rabindranath Tagore’s stirring prayer:
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, may also color 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.
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.]
It is a time in our community when everyone is finding ways to help each other, show their appreciation to those on the front lines or just finding ways to support the loved ones. We want to hear your stories, pictures, videos, music etc. Please use the link below to submit your content and our editorial board will select them for posting on ISW media sites.
Click here to submit content
ISW Launches multiple LGBTQ support networks
ISW LGBTQ+ Youth Support Network
The ISW LGBTQ+ Youth support network seeks to provide an in-person and online group of supportive peers, and is open to anyone between 13 and 24 years of age. A meeting place is yet to be decided. Each meeting will occur periodically, and will be hosted by a program facilitator. The format of the meetings will be an open forum for general support and discussion of topics raised by attendees, as well as some fun activities to encourage discussion and friendship. Additionally, program facilitators will be equipped with referrals to other appropriate service organizations. An online, informal WhatsApp group will be made available to be joined at the discretion of attendees.
For more information send email to email@example.com
ISW Family of LGBTQ+ Support Network
The ISW Family of LGBTQ+ Support Network is a support group for family members of LGBTQ+ people meeting periodically. The aim of the support group is to provide an open forum for the discussion of touching issues raised by the intersection of Indian culture and LGBTQ+ people. An adult facilitator will be present to lead discussion and provide referrals to pertinent resources.
For more information, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Are we happy about online class ? Are we happy about not seeing kids in the classroom ?
I will start with big YES . This YES is because everyone’s health is the first priority . Teacher is like a second parent to the kids . As parents can think only good about their kids . We teachers also give our heart and soul to show right direction to the kids how they can progress . And their progress is totally depend on they being healthy. So YES we should be happy though we can’t see them as staying home can keep them safe and healthy .
Every Sunday we see their smiling face and sitting healthy to attend the online class and believe me we can’t ask more than that . They are our future and we have to keep our future safe and protected .
YES we are happy with online class as learning new stuff is always interesting and it excites me . We learned to use new app and how to easily execute it so we can run online classroom smoothly .
We are teachers so we can’t loose our hope in any circumstances . Our mental strength, our support and positive thinking will give a better future to this little hearts . I must say WE TEACHERS ROCK !!
Check out more pictures below.