Dear VSNA Central Board of Directors,
We write on behalf of VSNA Next Generation community, formerly known as VSNA Youth, to bring you our Mission, Purpose and Objectives. In recent years, VSNA's younger generation has felt disillusioned and neglected by Central VSNA leadership, leading eventually to a confrontational last year in which our appointed youth leadership was bullied and harassed, and the youth community felt on the whole ignored.
Despite this, the VSNA Next Gen community came together to act on our objectives and the teachings we glean from Veerashaivism, as was evidenced in our joint efforts to fundraise and hold discussions on the racial equity questions stimulated in the U.S. over the past year. However, to continue participating actively and become impactful members of VSNA for years to come, we must build back trust with Central VSNA leadership. In order to do this, we require more autonomy and support from VSNA to lift up our needs and objectives as the next generation of VSNA members.
The VSNA Next Generation hopes to build a a decentralized but organically structured organization, running parallel to Central VSNA, where each of us can execute our objectives and be supported by our peers. This new organization will be built with input from people who represent all of the different groups that make up VSNA Next Generation. It will also be a place where younger and N.A.-born members can think about and act upon what it means to be a Veerashaiva in North America.
As of now, our objectives will include:
- Learning about Veerashaiva teachings and how they apply to present day issues;
- Educational opportunities and scholarships;
- Networking and career development;
- Organizing around social justice causes;
- Assembling leadership and community service opportunities;
- Hosting interest groups to connect and build a stronger, tighter-knit community; and more.
As we continue to develop VSNA Next Gen and gather further input from members, we anticipate more ideas and initiatives to come.
As we look to our future and the continuity of our Veerashaiva community in the U.S., we must respect and treat our next generation as equals. We, as Next Gen, cannot enthusiastically participate in VSNA without the following:
- Autonomy in leading, organizing, and operating the VSNA Next Gen organization, including a discontinuation of the "Youth President" position and title;
- A separate budget to run our programs and carry out our initiatives, unconstrained by Central VSNA (budget proposal to follow); and
- Freedom to participate in larger Chapter or National events and committees as we choose.
We look forward to discussing with Central VSNA leadership the changes we would like to see so that we may all further the advancement of Veerashaiva practice and education in the U.S. for many generations to come.
VSNA Next Gen