Opinion Essays

By Valarie Kaur and Sharat Raju Published on Huffington Post. Six months ago today, a small Midwestern town was rocked by a mass shooting at a house of worship. The massacre in Oak Creek, Wisconsin that claimed the lives of six people on August 5, 2012 is only one in a tragically long list of recent mass shootings. Yet in this political moment - when sustained public pressure could lead to real gun control reform - the Oak Creek tragedy and response offers a vital lesson: the efficacy of resilience. We

Published on Washington Post. When my plane landed in Connecticut early Friday afternoon, I was glad to be home. I had just spent the week in Oak Creek, Wis., with families of victims murdered in the mass shooting on Aug. 5, 2012 at a Sikh temple. Their grief is still fresh, and it was both heart-breaking and cathartic to facilitate discussion and healing. I could never have imagined that I would be traveling from the site of one mass shooting to another, this time in my own backyard. The

This morning, watching dawn break over New Haven, I see the faces of the young people I've met these many weeks during election season. In Philadelphia, college students struggling to walk the path of social justice in tough economic times, In Los Angeles, interfaith students figuring out how to answer their calling. In Washington, DC, Sikh Americans aching to serve their community in response to a rising tide of hate. And in my neighborhood in New Haven, young people of color coping with the sound of gunshots in

Letter from dear friend and mentor Amardeep Bhalla to fellow Sikh Americans on Election Day: Dear Sikh Friends, In case there is any Sikh American voter left to be persuaded, I just wanted to share this quick but comprehensive list of what the Obama Administration has done for our community. From reading it, I believe it will become clear that President Obama is by far the candidate most likely to advance Sikh American issues. I urge any Sikh, whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent, to please read it. Regardless

Published on Religion and Politics. Nestled in the suburbs of Hamden, Connecticut, a little brick building has been transformed into a gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship. Inside Gurdwara Sachkhand Darbar, dozens of families from the greater New Haven area gather for Sunday service. Most of those who attend services have lived in New England for more than twenty years; only a handful of them are recent immigrants. All listen intently to the kirtan, lips moving softly to the words of a prayer: “Tu Thakar Tum Pe Ardas Jiyo

Published on CNN. As a politically active Millennial invested in this year's election, I was surprised by my own response to the first presidential debate: I was bored. But not for all the reasons the pundits are talking about. To be sure, President Barack Obama's lackluster performance and Mitt Romney's free rein over the moderator led us into the weeds of policy without a compass. But that wasn't the only reason the candidates didn't speak to me. The debate was supposed to be about domestic issues, but focused exclusively on

Published on The Melissa Harris-Perry Blog. Just 45 days after his mother was murdered by a white supremacist in her house of worship, Harpreet Singh Saini found the courage to testify at a historic Senate hearing on Wednesday of this week. Saini’s mother was killed on August 5 when Wade Michael Page walked into a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and opened fire. “I want to protect other people from what happened to my mother,” Saini told the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, chaired by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Published on The Washington Post. In the chaos of bullets, riots, and the murder of an ambassador and three other U.S. citizens, a congressional hearing held in a quiet corner of the U.S. Senate holds the key to understanding the many costs of homegrown hate. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the threat of hate groups and domestic extremism in America. The hearing is historic. While Congress has held dozens of hearings on the threat of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, this will be the first

Published on The Washington Post. In the thick of election season, the mass shooting of Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wis., on Aug. 5, 2012, has quickly faded from public consciousness. But a month later, the tragedy is front and center in the minds of Sikh Americans. In their gurdwaras (houses of worship) and homes, Sikh Americans are still making sense of this tragedy and asking themselves: “What do we do next?” For Sikh Americans, Oak Creek has become both a cause for introspection and an urgent call to

Published on CNN. The Republican National Convention will make history Wednesday night. Ishwar Singh, wearing a turban and beard, will take the stage and lead thousands of conservatives in prayer. For the first time in U.S. history, a Sikh American will give the invocation at a Republican National Convention. The inclusion of a Sikh prayer on the stage comes just a few weeks after a gunman opened fire on Sikhs praying in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six and hospitalizing three more in what could be the largest racially motivated mass