Common Ground Tag

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

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

This piece, co-authored with Chris Stedman, can be read in full on the Huffington Post Religion. In the weeks following 9/11, a Sikh man named Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot down at a gas station by a man shouting "I'm a patriot!" In 2009, a 9-year-old girl named Brisenia Flores and her father were murdered in Arizona, allegedly at the hands of anti-immigration crusaders. And just last week, a gay activist named David Kato was bludgeoned to death in Uganda after his picture was published in a magazine

SHADOW GENERATION Valarie Kaur - Huffington Post Feature - 9/15/10 What's missing in the national firestorm over Park51? The voices of young people. Here's how young people can speak out against Islamophobia without creating new enemies, starting on today. September 15, 2010 -- Nine years ago today, the murder of a family friend changed the course of my life. His name was Balbir Singh Sodhi. Four days after 9/11, he was shot in the back in front of his gas station by a man who yelled when arrested, "I'm a

Tomorrow we will honor the memory of Balbir Singh Sodhi -- and all the men and women whose lives have been lost or damaged in the aftermath of 9/11, in hate crimes at home, terrorist attacks abroad, or in two wars raging in far-away lands. Since we launched the Common Ground Campaign few days ago, 717 people have signed our Charter in all 50 states. I invite you to commemorate tomorrow by signing the Charter for Common Ground and share with your friends and family.  Our goal: 915 signatures by 9:15pm on 9/15. www.commongroundcampaign.org  

We're very pleased to land on the front page of today's New Haven Register.  The reporter Mary O'Leary captured the spirit of our campaign.  Worth the full read: Students' New Campaign Fights Islamophobia Mary O'Leary - September 13, 2010 NEW HAVEN — Valarie Kaur is an award-winning filmmaker who has fought racism for the past nine years, and still she found herself overwhelmed and paralyzed by the anti-Muslim sentiment flowing from controversy over the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York. A student at the Yale Law School, Kaur said the

What would happen if we felt empathy for those who we believe hold hateful views?  Would we lose some integral part of our identity or find common humanity? On every 9/11 anniversary, I find myself showing my film or giving a talk, but this year, in the spirit of the Common Ground Campaign, I spent the day listening instead of speaking.  And what I found surprised me. During the memorial at Ground Zero, as families gathered to remember and grieve, one man who lost his wife told the New

By Everett Rosenfeld Published by Yale Daily News. When Valarie Kaur LAW ’11 first heard about Ahmed Sharif, the New York City cab driver who was attacked Aug. 24 by a drunken passenger for being Muslim, she did not know how to respond. “We are witnessing a wave of hate crimes across the country, not fully being covered on the news,” she said. “This [situation] is becoming insidious, life-threatening, and serious, but I found myself in a paralysis.” Within a week, Matthew Matera LAW ’11 came to her room to talk about

It is astounding what can happen in one week. Last weekend, my friend Matt stopped by and started to vent his frustration and anger over the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy and the wave of anti-Muslim violence sweeping the country.  I had been paralyzed over the issue for weeks, but hearing him began to thaw my frozen state: I wasn't alone in my bewilderment and sadness. Matt and I began to reach out to classmates and friends across the country: many of us felt that our voices were not represented