August 2012

Published on The Huffington Post. By Valarie Kaur and Simran Jeet Singh Why do we wear turbans?" Nearly every Sikh American who grows up in the U.S. asks their families this question and as two Sikh Americans who maintain our faith, we were no different when we were little. This week, as Americans join in vigils for the six murdered Sikhs in another violent act of hate, many are now asking us this same question. "Our ancestors were beheaded so that we could practice our faith without fear," our grandparents told

Appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show. I'm honored to be featured on one of my favorite shows on TV by the smartest, most compassionate host I know, Melissa Harris-Perry.  She discusses my call for efforts to build a world without terror and includes footage my partner Sharat Raju and I shot this week in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Published on The Washington Post. By Vineet Chander, Valarie Kaur and Najeeba Syed-Miller One week after the Sikh shootings in Oak Creek, Americans have learned more about the Sikh community, many for the first time. A brief introduction to Sikhism has caused people to wonder about the relationship between Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam. Each religion is a distinct tradition with unique sets of beliefs, practices and values, and at the same time, all three have coexisted for many hundreds of years in the South Asian region of the world. India

Published on The Washington Post. By Valarie Kaur and Simran Jeet Singh In the wake of the massacre at the Sikh gurdwara [house of worship] in Milwaukee, Americans are learning about Sikhs, many for the first time. As two Sikh Americans who have studied and advocated on behalf of our community for the last decade, we were at first encouraged by the national media attention – but now we’re a bit worried. We hear reporters and officials describe the attack as a case of “mistaken identity,” that Sikh Americans are

Published on The Washington Post. One day after Wade Michael Page opened fire and killed six Sikh Americans at a Milwaukee temple, the head of the U.S. Air Force Academy confused Sikhs with Muslims during a briefing before students and staff. Lt. Gen. Michael Gould is superintendent of the Colorado Springs military school. His job is to help educate, train and inspire the 4,000 young men and women at the academy to become “officers of character,” according to the school’s mission statement. Yet this highly decorated, well-educated military leader

Published by The Washington Post. On Friday morning, I arrived at a conference at the White House to speak on the future of the Sikh American community. On a panel, I reported on a rising generation of Sikhs who are reinterpreting their faith and finding innovative ways to serve their country. As I spoke, I caught students in the audience, listening and nodding. Afterward, they swarmed me and shared their brightest new ideas. I was moved, energized, and filled with hope for the future of our community. Forty-eight hours

Sikhs are half a million strong in the U.S. and belong to the fifth largest organized religion in the world. Our faith was established in 1469 in present-day Northern India and Pakistan. Our first teacher, Guru Nanak, called for devotion to One God, equality between all people, and a commitment to service – all ideals compatible with the American ethic. We pray in houses of worship called gurdwaras, where we gather together to recite and sing our sacred scriptures, poetry in praise of God. Like other religious

Published on CNN. Today, the day after the tragic shootings near Milwaukee, the fog will begin to lift. Just as after Columbine and Aurora, we will hear the names of the suspect and victims. We will learn more about the motive and imagine the nightmare that unfolded within those walls. In the past, hearing these horrific details would be enough to bring us together in national unity. But that will not be enough today. Today, we are called to do more. We are called to do the hard work

This morning's shooting is a tragedy not only for Sikh Americans but for all Americans. The Sikh community gathered to pray on a Sunday morning just like millions of Americans in churches across the country. The terrible loss of life so recently after the shootings in Aurora violates our deepest values. The grief runs especially deep for Sikh Americans. We see our own gurdwara on the television screen; we imagine our own aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, caught in the gunfire. As a Sikh American whose family