The Hindu month of Chaitra, April 7 to May 7, is the first month of the Indian calendar with a change in the moon’s orbit. The month starts with Ugadi/Yugadi, which marks the first day of the new calendar. Yuga means “age” and ādi means “beginning” — the beginning of a new age.
During this month, Hindus celebrate with festivals that bring to life an aspect of the universal truth to empower communities. The rituals of the festivals strengthen bonds between and within families and communities. It is a time to serve those in need and reflect on our blessings.
Followers of the Eastern Dharmic traditions — Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists — continue to arrive on American shores. For many of them, their traditions provide a point of reference for civic engagement. Those who immigrated starting from 1965, following the reform to immigration policy (the Hart-Celler Act) are now reaching or have reached retirement age. Some have coped with divorce, the death of a spouse, or a disability. Migration brings its own sense of loss and gain. These changes are very much like a Yugadi.
Immigrants have changed the cultural and religious landscape of this great nation. Yesterday’s immigrants established churches and synagogues. Today’s Dharmic immigrants build Mandirs, Ashrams and Gurudwaras. For the newly transplanted, faith-based institutions, traditions, and culture provide a sense comfort, which is necessary to cope with change. To augment the support that they had in their native land, immigrants must depend more on external resources, such as Social Security.
You can learn more about Social Security’s programs and services during May 1-8, a special week this year when the agency will join forces with faith-based and community groups across the country to increase awareness of these resources. This year’s campaign theme is “Shining a Light on Your Lifelong Protections.”
Transformation, in the landscape of America, requires a mental paradigm shift for all communities to fully access services. Many are beginning to recognize that we need an integrated effort from multiple sources.
Faith Week of Action leads us into Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of this rich culture in the United States. Social Security is committed to the White House AAPI Initiative. You can visit our website Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for more information.
You can also register online to learn how you can help Social Security spread the message about securing today and tomorrow.