A HOOSIER'S RESPONSE:
SEEING LIGHT AND LESSONS AMIDST AN UNACCEPTABLE TRANSGRESSION
Respected Friends, Community Leaders, and Fellow Americans:
Another sad episode and outrage against a decent Sikh American
family (see attachment).
This incidents, and many other similar unfriendly events, in recent
months simply affirm that with some sense of urgency our civic
leadership, educators, law-enforcement agencies and civil rights
groups, media, and fellow Americans must take some needed steps
and initiatives to safeguard and celebrate our fellow citizens.
We should create and expand an environment where we are introduced
to one another and educated about the many diverse cultures and
communities, once-unfamiliar faiths and spiritual traditions that
are today a growing and integral part of American cultural, ethnic,
and spiritual fabric today. In an increasingly interdependent
world, we are all the better for this new emerging richness and
renaissance of unbound promise.
The basic rights, human dignity, and protections guaranteed by
our sacred U.S. Constitution, State Laws, City Ordinances, and
civic guidelines offer solemn understandings, reassurances and
commitments of protections of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness,
justice, and equality under the law. These inalienable rights
must be honored of every citizen in this blessed land. Each of
us has a civic and moral responsibility that the type of incident
that occurred in Houston, and as reported by The Houston Chronicle,
does not occur in Indiana or repeated elsewhere.
Leadership in the Hoosier Sikh American community, and Sikh Americans
throughout the U.S., have been making a major effort to work closely
with the City, State, and National officials, law-enforcement
agencies, civic and faith leadership, and educators to dispel
the unfounded stereotype about the Sikh community and their faith-mandated
appearance and articles of faith, and simultaneously educating
the Sikh families locating in Indiana and throughout the U.S.
about their rights and responsibilities and urging them to mainstream
their talents, commitment, and presence in the communities where
they work and live.
The involvement of law-enforcement officers, mandated with the
responsibility to protect all citizens in the Houston incident
and violation of that sacred trust, has sent shock waves throughout
the Sikh American communities around the Nation. We hope that
the authorities in Houston will look into this matter, resolve
it peacefully, and use this incident as a teachable opportunity
to learn about, respect and protect innocent fellow Americans
engaged in peaceful pursuits and proudly contributing to making
our nation "a more perfect Union."
I know that each of you care deeply and work very hard to make
our cities, states, and Nation a welcome place for all who come
to our shores in search of their dreams and making a difference
in their lives and ours. I thank you for your generous support
of immigrant communities, including the Hoosier Sikh community,
that are making Indiana their home. Indiana has been my proud
home for the past 41 years and we are witnessing our City and
State become the envy of many across the Nation. We must together
do what we must to avoid the negative treatment and unprovoked
hostility that has been out there since 9/11 and innocent Muslims
and especially Sikh Americans have been the frequent victims of
racial profiling, unprovoked violence and mistaken identity due
to their faith mandated turbans, beards, and sacred articles of
Any violation of the rights and safety of innocent fellow Americans
diminishes each of us.
I have come to believe that all cultures, faith communities,
and "tribes" of humanity are converging on our shores
by some Providential Decree and let us make the most of the light,
spirit, wealth of experience that they are bringing with them
to make America a "Shining City,"
dazzling with new hope and promise amidst the unfathomable Universe
that surrounds our beautiful planet Earth. Each element that graces
and contributes to the glow and strengths of this greatest and
one of the most enlightened experiment under the heavens is precious.
With kind regards and best wishes for a very Merry Christmas
and blessed Holiday Season.
Indianapolis, Indiana USA
Dear Dr. Patricia Payne:
Thank you for forwarding the attached article from The Houston
Chronicle. It makes me and it would make most fellow Americans
sad and angry. I hope that the authorities in Houston will address
the problem and the matter will be resolved peacefully.
I also understand that all of us working together can dispel
some of the issues raised in the article. You certainly have been
doing an commendable job as an educator to educate each of us
that diversity is not an adversity; interfaith is not just about
religion, it is about entering into faith with one another to
serve causes bigger than ourselves. Diversity in all its rich
and colorful, and sometimes complex and uncommon, forms is our
new frontier of opportunity to connect with one another as fellow
Americans and world citizens and fight against prejudice and unfounded
stereotype against any community that forms the ethnic, cultural,
and spiritual fabric our human tapestry.
I am attaching your transmission and forwarding it to respected
friends and community leaders with my prayerful comments (below)
and hope that we keep our beloved City and State as a leader in
addressing such concerns as occurred in Houston and occur somewhere
everyday against Sikh Americans from happening here.
With kind personal regards and blessings, KP Singh Indianapolis,