California Tag

It was an incredible experience to watch the first-ever Sikh float at the Rose Parade. It celebrated the story of Sikhs in America, starting with pioneers like my grandfather who settled in California 101 years ago. The float features a replica of the first gurdwara in America - one that he helped build - and a tractor like the one he used to farm. Watching the Rose Parade next to my parents and Sharat, baby Kavi sleeping on my chest, we all teared up when we saw the Sikh float on the screen. My dad started

By Amelia Earnest Published by Yale Daily News. A decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, Yale students are still discussing their effect on the way minorities are perceived in the United States. The South Asian Society at Yale, in collaboration with the Yale Chaplain’s Office and two other student groups, held a forum Monday night for reflection on racial profiling in the post-9/11 world as part of a series of University-wide events commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. The evening’s discussion addressed societal issues that have developed since 9/11, such

Anyone who knows about the aftermath of 9/11 will remember the story of Balbir Singh Sodhi.  A turbaned Sikh man, he was the first person murdered in a hate crime in response to 9/11.  It called national attention to anti-Muslim violence and galvanized action from all corners.  In Arizona, where three thousand people attended the memorial, the legislature honored Sodhi on the state’s 9/11 Memorial. His story has never been disputed.  Until now. This month, Arizona Representative John Kavanagh introduced a bill that would remove Sodhi’s name from the

Last week, NPR reported a growing trend among local NAACP chapters. They're electing a new generation of leaders, many of whom are not African-American.  In Waterbury, Connecticut, the chapter elected Victor Diaz, a 32-year-old Hispanic who is one of about a dozen new local leaders broadening the NAACP mission.  They are changing the face of the NAACP as an organization not just for African-Americans but also for immigrants and LGBT people. This news was music to my ears.  For too long, civil rights organizations have fought campaigns as

As I write this, my eyes are swollen from crying.  It's not that I'm not accustomed to the news.  Taxi drivers shot.  Kids bullied.  Gurdwaras set on fire.  And the routine "hey Osama" on the street.  For ten years, I've documented hate against Sikh Americans, as well as Muslim, Arab, and other South Asian Americans.  I was twenty when I began this work a few days after 9/11.  Now I'm thirty.  I didn't know I would be doing it for ten years. But that's not why I broke

Two elderly Sikh men, who wore turbans and beards, were gunned down in Elk Grove, CA during their daily afternoon walk.  Hate is not the confirmed motivation but likely, according to officials.  This news comes in a time when anti-Muslim rhetoric is once again reaching a fevered pitch.  A few weeks ago, protesters screamed "terrorists" at Muslim children walking to a charity fundraiser. Last week, Tennessee legislators proposed a bill that would essentially criminalize Islam in the state.  Last year, following the Park51 firestorm, mosques in Tennessee,

Here is Salon's article giving voice to a mother who walked past screaming protesters at the recent anti-Muslim protest in Orange County: By now, there's a good chance you've seen a video rocketing around the Web of anti-Muslim protesters screaming at families entering an Islamic charity event in Orange County last month. One of the most striking parts of the scene is protesters continuing to shout "go home" and "Muhammed was a pervert!" even as young children walk by with their parents. (Watch it below.) On Thursday night, I

Watch this video. Fear and hate for Muslim Americans on full display at a protest against a charity fundraiser in Yorba Linda, California. Children walk past as protesters scream "TERRORIST" and "REMEMBER 9/11." I have a lump in my throat, but now is the time to speak, even if our voice trembles. The ten-year anniversary of 9/11 this year will invite more of this into the public square and our national discourse. Will we be ready to respond with smart, compassionate and courageous action? If you want to

In the last few weeks, as the national firestorm over the "Ground Zero Mosque" reached a deafening pitch, I have not been able to stop thinking about a handmade sign hanging in a gas station in Mesa, Arizona. On September 15, 2001, a turbaned Sikh man was murdered in front of this gas station, the first of at least two dozen people murdered in hate crimes in the months after 9/11. Neighbors and strangers sent hundreds of flowers and cards and messages, but the family chose this sign

I wanted to go to the Parliament of the World's Religions ever since I first heard about it as a high school student studying religion. I would close my eyes and imagine the very first Parliament in Chicago in 1893, when Swami Vivekananda rose to address an American audience for the first time. The crowd wondered if this man from India even spoke English. When he greeted them – “Sisters and Brothers of America!” – the crowd rose to their feet in applause. “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth,” he said in his famous address. “They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair."