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September 2011

Activism and Outreach From 9/11 Hate Killing

By Anju Kaur Published by SikhNN. A new kind of activism was born out of the Balbir Singh Sodhi tragedy ten years ago when he became the first person killed in the backlash against those perceived to be related to the 9/11 attackers. About 100 people gathered at his Mesa, Arizona, gas station to remember Balbir Singh who was gunned down on Sept. 15, 2011. He was shot because of his Sikh identity of unshorn hair and turban. His attacker, Frank Roque, went on a rampage, shooting him five times before attacking a local business and a home. Although Roque […]

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A Millennial Moral Center

My letter to the editor of the New York Times, defending the moral vision of the Millennial generation, was published today. I’m thrilled to be given this chance to speak out for all of us working so hard toward our vision of a more just world. You can find the letter on the NYT website, and read it below. Re “If It Feels Right…” (column, Sept. 13): David Brooks cites a Notre Dame study of 230 young Americans to indict an entire generation’s moral sensibility, warning that our “erosion of shared moral frameworks” gives rise to “moral individualism.” I think […]

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The Ten Year Anniversary of 9/15

I’m writing tonight from Mesa, Arizona, where a family friend was murdered ten years ago.  His name was Balbir Singh Sodhi.He was a turbaned Sikh man who owned his own gas station and was well-loved for his generosity and broad smile.On Sept. 15, 2001, he visited Costco to buy flowers and emptied his pocket to make a donation to the 9/11 relief efforts in the check out line.  A few hours later, he was shot and killed in front of his store by a man who called himself a “patriot.” Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first of dozens of people […]

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The Moral Values of America’s Youth: My Letter to the Editor

Published by the New York Times. To the Editor: Re “If It Feels Right…” (column, Sept. 13): David Brooks cites a Notre Dame study of 230 young Americans to indict an entire generation’s moral sensibility, warning that our “erosion of shared moral frameworks” gives rise to “moral individualism.” I think the researchers got it wrong. It’s not that we don’t have a shared vocabulary to address moral issues — we just don’t have theirs. My generation is the most open-minded in history. Nearly half of us are nonwhite or multiracial; most of us support interracial dating; and the majority of us, […]

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A New Chapter

On Sunday night, when I got off the train near Ground Zero to attend a 9/11 multifaith ceremony, I walked right into an anti-Muslim protest. Two hundred people cheered on speakers who warned of sharia law and the Muslim invasion.  Their signs read: “Mohammad was a terrorist.” A moment later, their eyes were on us — we looked like their enemies — and my throat caught.  I cried, and walked away. But when I finally got to the ceremony, I saw why we did this together.  Four times as many people had gathered at Pier 40 for an evening of […]

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Thousands of Ribbons of Hope on this 9/11

The story was originally printed on Newsday here. We have been collecting Ribbons of Hope from across the country and around the world to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Our partners at Prepare New York are weaving these ribbons into a colorful tapestry that to me, represents a groundswell of people ready to overcome fear and divisiveness on this anniversary.  Send your Ribbon of Hope to Ground Zero today (easy and free).  Newsday just covered our efforts: The fluttering ribbons came from near and far, their messages and prayers weaving a tapestry of emotions in lower Manhattan. “Never give up […]

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Groundswell’s “Coming Out Party”

On Tuesday night, hundreds of people gathered together at Groundswell’s kick-off teach-in in NYC and imagined how a movement based on compassion and community could emerge from the shadows this tenth anniversary of 9/11. I can still feel the electricity in the room — and the excitement about what we could build. We envisioned a movement that’s not about a single issue, political party or particular tradition — but a shared moral vision of a world where each of us feels at home. Check out video clips of social innovator and technologist Ari Wallach, social movement wave theorist Beth Zemsky, Professor […]

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Millennials, Moral Vision, and Movement Building

“We need to have an ‘American spring’… nonviolent change where people from the grassroots get involved again.”  – Former Vice President Al Gore, August 2011 We’re hungry for a movement. Faith and moral communities around the globe are tired of politics that maintain the status quo. Here in the U.S., a rising generation is finding brave new ways to channel moral vision into action: we’re marching in the streets for immigration reform, holding the banner of marriage equality, pushing back on anti-Muslim rhetoric, and demanding an end to partisan politics. But we’re not being heard. A small segment of the […]

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Announcing Groundswell

As many of you know, for the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to tour with Divided We Fall, leading dialogues on campuses and communities in 200 cities across the country. And I began to notice something — a rising generation of people like me were tired of partisan politics and hungry for meaningful social action. Many of us found it in the campaign of President Obama. And while I’m proud to have worked on his campaign, it’s clear now that we need more than a president to heal and repair our country. We need a movement — organized not […]

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