Eighty-two year-old Piara Singh turned to walk home from his gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in Fresno as he had done every morning for five years. But this day was different. He never made it home. He was assaulted from behind and brutally beaten with a steel rod, leaving him with multiple lacerations, broken ribs and a punctured lung. This happened in my hometown this month. I was heartbroken when I heard the news. Piara Singh could have been my grandfather. While local police are calling the assault of
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
On Friday, I spent the day with Millennials at the University of Pennsylvania. One of them did a thorough write-up of the event for the school paper. Thank you Harry for your good work! And thank you to all the UPenn students for an energizing and inspiring discussion on the eve of the 2012 Election! Award-Winning Filmmaker Explains Storytelling as Advocacy By Harry Cooperman, published on The Daily Pennsylvanian Storytelling plus advocacy equals social change. According to Valarie Kaur, this is an equation that will reshape the world. On Friday, Kaur,
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. I have spent the past two weeks documenting the aftermath of what could be one of the deadliest racially motivated mass shootings in recent U.S. history. Through a camera lens, I’ve witnessed courage in the face of profound grief: families in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, mourning the dead, praying through tears and rebuilding their community in the Sikh spirit of chardi kala, a rising resilience even in darkness. But when family members walked out of a private meeting with first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday afternoon,
Published on CNN. (CNN) -- Last Saturday morning, when media crews outside the Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, packed up their trucks to chase the news of Mitt Romney's choice for vice president, Sikh Americans were left reflecting on six days of unprecedented national attention. After the shooting of six people in a Sikh gurdwara, a stream of national leaders, from the Rev. Jesse Jackson to Gov. Scott Walker, came to offer condolences and support. But there was one person missing. It was you, Mr.
Published on The Washington Post. Sixteen days ago, a gunman opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis. One of the victims, Punjab Singh, is still fighting for his life in a Milwaukee hospital. I had never met him before, but when I went to visit him on Sunday, I did not see a stranger: I saw my grandfather. In recent days, the blogosphere has buzzed with speculation over why media coverage of the massacre in Aurora, Colo., was far more extensive than in Oak Creek. Many