Hate Crimes

On September 15, at sunset in Arizona, a crowd gathered at the corner of a Chevron gas station called the Mesa Star. Like every year since 2002, Rana Sodhi hosted a memorial here for his brother, Balbir Singh Sodhi. Balbir was shot while planting flowers in front of his store on September 15, 2001 — four days after the 9/11 attacks. On this night every year, the station is transformed into sacred space, where we listen to prayers, hold candles and place red roses on the cool marble where Balbir

Live From #GroundZero. Watch here. I was with Kerri Kelly on 9/11 to honor her step-father Lt Joe Leavey, a fireman who rushed up flights of stairs to save people and was killed 15 years ago today. She wants an end to hate & bigotry in Joe's name. Together we are reclaiming 9/11 in the name of #revolutionarylove. On 9/15 she joined me in Phoenix to honor my family friend and uncle Balbir Singh Sodhi, Sikh American and the first of dozens killed in hate crimes in the aftermath of

One of the first people killed in a hate crime after 9/11 was a family friend, Balbir Singh Sodhi. He was 52, a Sikh father who wore a turban and beard as part of his faith. He was the first of dozens of Sikhs and Muslims in America killed in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attack. But his murder barely made the evening news. I was 20 years old, afraid for both my country and community. The Sikh faith calls us to social action, even in times of

The way that America commemorates the 15 year anniversary of 9/11 will shape our nation's future. Will we honor the dead by recommitting our nation to love? Or will we allow 9/11 to be used to incite hate and violence this election season? As a Sikh mother, the question is a matter of life or death. Because on every 9/11 anniversary, we see an astounding rise in hate against Muslim and Sikh Americans - profiling, bullying, beatings, and killings. That's why, for the first time ever, we are releasing our

A few months ago, I made a leap of faith. Every night, when I lay my son in his crib, my love for him swells up in my heart – and then fear lodges in my throat when I think about him coming of age. This election year, it feels like fear and hate threatens to swallow America whole. I can’t protect him from the fires of life; I can only try to give him a better world. But after 15 years as an activist, I’m tired of fighting

I'm in Oak Creek today to commemorate the four-year anniversary of a mass shooting on Sikh Americans. On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara in this small town in Wisconsin, spilling blood in a place of prayer and peace. He killed six people and wounded many more. The tragedy too quickly fell out of national memory. But that's not why I keep coming back. As a Sikh, all my life I have been taught “chardi kala” – the spirit of optimism and revolutionary

A call to action: If you grieve the police officers killed in Dallas and the black people shot by police, if you believe we can demand police accountability and join hands with police officers who want to end racism and violence, if you hunger to channel anger and grief into #revolutionarylove, then please read and sign this letter. We are going to deliver this letter to police departments and Black Lives Matter chapters across the country. I wrote this letter with prophetic faith leaders Jacqui Lewis Brian D. McLaren Gene Robinson Sister Simone Campbell and Michael-Ray Mathews. In

I was honored to receive the Peter J. Gomes STB '68 Memorial Award this week from my alma mater, Harvard Divinity School. Here is the wonderful article that Harvard posted: When Valarie Kaur, MTS '07, visited the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, after a white supremacist shot six people there in August of 2012, she found none of the recriminations and finger-pointing that characterized the politics of gun violence in the United States. Instead, she joined the community in responding to the hate crime with love, solidarity, and

This post originally appeared on Upworthy.  by Isabel Evans Donald Trump called for an end to all Muslim immigration into the United States and it was pretty scary. That’s old news by now. But the cool part you might not have heard about? As a response, a group of faith leaders from lots of different religions united in support of Muslims. On Dec. 9, 2015, those faith leaders published an open letter to the American Muslim community pledging solidarity, love, and support to Muslims "with our voices, our actions, and our bodies." The organizers of the

This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post. by Antonia Blumberg Muslim Americans have found themselves at the center of ugly debate in the political arena as of late. At a time when religious literacy and dialogue could be our saving grace against the divisive rhetoric of terrorists, some have chosen fear and hatred, instead.But in the wake of Donald Trump's call for a "complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the U.S., a group of religious leaders released a statement of solidaritywith the Muslim community in the United States on Dec. 9. "In place of such dangerous rhetoric," the statement