In the media
What people say about us?
Any form of encouragement and support is a huge boost for us to continue our work among the poor Dalits in India. We consider their affirmation as a great recognition and appreciation for Dalit Solidarity who has been in service for the last two decades. We share with the following US media news articles, interviews and video clips.
2nd Annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, July 2019, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C
The U.S. Department of State hosted its 2nd annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, offering an opportunity for global leaders to gather and discuss challenges and concrete approaches to promoting greater respect for religious freedom around the world.
Kaitlyn’s Faith Continues to Inspire, April 11, 2019 John Woods, Editor, Catholic New York
t is about Kaitlyn Bernhardt, a teenage girl from Brooklyn, who became sick with a severe form of bone cancer, just before she was about to enter Bishop Kearney High School in September 2016. She fought the disease valiantly for 22 months before succumbing at age 15 last June 15.
CBS, Chicago Channel, Feb 25, 2009, Report by Mike Puccinelli
Dalit Solidarity is a non profit organization that works for the upliftment of dalits in India. Dalit Solidarity provides education, healthcare, and development to the underpriveliged in India. Its founder, Father Ben Chinnappan was interviewed by CBS (Chicago Channel Two News) to reflect his comments on the new movie Slumdog Millionare and how the movie becomes reality to portray the living conditions of the Dalit's.
India's ‘Untouchables’ are one Priest's Mission, January 2008 By Joyce Durga, Editor, Catholic New World, Chicago
What happened in Chicago is beyond our human comprehension. Everyone is deeply shocked at this horrific tragedy that rooted out four precious human lives. This is a daily phenomenon in rural India where Dalits suffer silently at the hands of the upper-caste community. Dalits have been exposed to this kind of oppression for centuries. I have personally witnessed tragic stories of my own friends who were bold enough to break the caste barriers. I am also a victim of the caste discrimination since my childhood, even as a Catholic and, above all, as a priest, I could not escape the horror of the caste oppression. Despite all my educational and economical status, I am still fighting this injustice.
A Mission of Hope, March 5, 2005 Maureen Dyman, Hines VA Hospital
Providing emotional support and guidance to veterans who have experienced great loss or tragedy is part of a VA chaplain’s job description. Visiting the victims of the tsunami disaster and offering them this same kind of assistance in their time of need was the experience of a lifetime for Father Benjamin Chinnappan, a chaplain at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in suburban Chicago. “Father Ben,” as he is called by Hines staff and patients, was born and raised in southern India, an area hit hard by the tsunami disaster. When he heard about the disaster on Dec. 26, he immediately sprang into action, organizing a humanitarian relief mission to remote villages in India affected by the tragedy
Disaster brings worry about families in Asia, December 28, 2004 BY MEGAN WALDE AND MARY KLAUS, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA
The Rev. Benjamin Chinnappan has given $3,000 to the relief effort in his native Tamil Nadu state of southern India. Friends there tell him of the devastation and shock in the aftermath of the disaster. "People are not even in relief work yet, but survival," the priest said. "Things are completely in chaos, like after Sept. 11 here, or the Florida hurricanes." Chinnappan moved to Chicago two months ago after more than six years as chaplain at Holy Spirit Hospital. In the midstate, he founded Dalit Solidarity, an organization to help the poor and "untouchables" of Indian society.
Chaplain aids poor in India, April 25, 2003 BY MARY KLAUS, Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA
The Rev. Benjamin Chinnappan travels between his two worlds as easily as hundreds of commuters go from the West Shore to the East Shore on their way to work each day. As chaplain of Holy Spirit Hospital, he's used to a health care facility that offers everything from a birthplace to behavior health services, from a sleep center to speech therapy. As a native of India, he's used to a country that doesn't have enough hospitals to take care of its people. He's trying to change that. Chinnappan, who grew up in a dirt hut in a remote village in southern India, was ordained a priest in 1988.
Kaitlyn’s Example Shines in India, July 8, 2019 Antonina Zielinska, The Tablet, Brooklyn, New York
Father Chinnappan, the executive director of Dalit Solidarity in India, said Kaitlyn is a role model to the children at St. Theresa’s. The Dalit Solidarity is a nonprofit group in India that seeks justice for Dalits, members of India’s lowest caste. The children in Kakkanur developed a strong bond with Kaitlyn, who died in June 2018 from cancer and is now being considered for ocial sainthood in the Catholic Church.
The Church in the US and India, May 17, 2018 Megan Mio, Mission Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago
Megan sits down with Fr. Benjamin Chinnappan, full-time chaplain at Hines Veteran's Administration Hospital. Fr. Ben was born in southern India. Missionaries supported his vocation to be ordained a diocesan priest. He obtained permission to leave India for studies and he has served as a chaplain at the VA Hospital for about 14 years. He is also the founder of Dalit Solidarity, a charitable organization that works to provide access, opportunity and empowerment to the Dalit community still struggling in India. Fr. Ben shares about his own vocation story, his journey to give back to the Dalit community and his calling to serve as minister to veterans at the VA hospital.
Global Activism: Improving the Lives of India’s Dalits, June 11, 2009 Jerome McDonnell, Worldview Host, WBEZ Chicago
Dalits are often subject to persecution and segregation under India's caste system. Dalit Solidarity is an organization that works to provide education, economic opportunities and healthcare for these members of India's population. We talk with Father Benjamin Chinnappan, the founder of the organization.
Irish generosity we can all celebrate, Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 10:00 PM John Rice, columnist
Fr. Ben comes from the "untouchable" class - a people who are treated as badly as any slum dog in India. The modern term for these downtrodden souls is Dalit, but not much has changed in the 3,000 years the untouchables have clung to the bottom rung of Indian society. Even missionaries shunned this despised group of indigenous Indians. That is, until Fr. Duffy arrived in the 1930s. Fr. Duffy came from a wealthy family, but had no compunction about being the first priest to minister to the poorest of the poor. He raised money during the depths of the era of the Depression to build a boarding school in Villupuram District.
The Least of my brothers, Neighbors Magazine 2005, Melrose Park, IL John Rice, Reporter
As citizens of the world, we all have a duty to help the least among us, but there are 300 million "untouchables" in India who do not receive the food, shelter and the education they need. But a Maywood priest is changing their lives.
Teen’s documentary shows plight of India’s ‘untouchables’, The Criterion Friday, April 15, 2005
Father Chinnappan founded Dalit Solidarity six years ago. The priest, who now ministers as a chaplain in Chicago and visits India twice a year, said the Harrisburg Diocese's Mission Co-op and Cursillo movement have donated funds to help build two schools and a seminary in Father Chinnappan's home diocese, the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, India. McCoy's documentary shows extensive footage of St. Patrick Home, a boarding school that Dalit Solidarity established four years ago to provide education, spiritual formation and psychological support for dalit children, who include Christians, Hindus and Muslims.
Priest helps fellow 'Untouchables', Feb 09, 2003 By Jim Remsen. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA
Father Chinnappan, 41, has borne the suffering since his childhood in rural South India, as one of eight children jammed into a dirt hut no bigger than the narrow living room of his Holy Spirit apartment. These days, when he finishes his duties at the hospital, the priest returns to his apartment and fires up the computer that serves as the command center for his other life - as a freelance humanitarian for fellow Dalits back in South India.