Today, families are gathering together around great bonfires in Northern India and around the world to celebrate Lohri, the harvest festival of Punjab. As a girl, I would blink at the growing flames, listen to the pounding of the dhol (drum), and hold my breath as family members stepped forward to announce good news of the last year: The birth of a daughter! A son's first day at school! A new job! A wedding! We would then jump up and dance around the fire, singing folk songs, throwing popcorn into the flames,
Breaking news! On Wednesday afternoon, an FBI advisory policy board voted to track hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. We did this together! On August 5th, 2012, six Sikh Americans were murdered in a gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in one of the greatest hate-based mass shootings in recent U.S. history. Within 48 hours, thousands of Groundswell members sent prayers and messages of solidarity from all over the country. I delivered them in Wisconsin the first Sunday after the mass shooting. And in the following months, you signed and shared the petition telling
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
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 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,