“I remember the first time I even realized I was different in terms of my religion was when I was in elementary school,” said Davuluri. “A classmate of mine came up to me and said, ‘Do you believe in Jesus?’ and I said, ‘Well, no but I believe in God.’ And he said, ‘Well you’re going to hell.’ I went home and told this to my mother...And we had this conversation about religion and spirituality and how people believe in different things, but at the core of it, at the heart of it, all of us are one.”
The program also featured California State Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore, Nora Campos, and California State Senate Majority Leader, Ellen Corbett, both of whom spoke about the importance of education and the need for textbooks to accurately reflect the stories of diverse communities across the state.
The event celebrated many of HAF’s other achievements at the local and national level, and marked the first time the Foundation’s Northern California Chapter honored interfaith leaders with the 2014 HAF Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism.
The four awardees included Dr. Barbara McGraw, Director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism and Professor of Social Ethics, Law and Public Life at Saint Mary’s College of California; Iftekhar Hai, President of the United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance; Girish Shah, Treasurer and Director of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council and Director of Carry the Vision; and Mervyn Danker, Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee San Francisco.