5 Ways To Support Your Sikh Neighbors
By Dr. Simran Jeet Singh
Over the weekend, a Sikh man was standing in his own driveway when a masked man approached him. The masked man shouted, “Go back to your own country!” He then pulled the trigger of his gun, shooting the innocent, Sikh American man. While the Sikh man survived and is recovering, the hate-shooting has sent shockwaves across the country. Minorities everywhere are concerned for their safety and security. And rightfully so — xenophobic violence is increasing in quantity and severity throughout the US.
In this context, it is incumbent on those who do not face such discrimination to help those who do. Here are a few things you can do to support your Sikh neighbors during these difficult times.
1. Reach out to your Sikh neighbors. Let them know you appreciate their presence in their city and give them a chance to share their experiences with you.
2. Learn a little bit about the Sikh tradition and Sikh American experiences. Here’s a primer: http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/sikhism/10-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-sikhism.aspx
3. If you witness a hate incident, please intervene in a way that is safe yet effective. The worst thing in the world is feeling like the people around you don’t care enough to help out. Silence is complicity.
4. Visit a gurdwara near you. People of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome, and it’s a great opportunity to meet Sikh Americans who contribute to your local community. Bonus — delicious, free food (langar) after every program!
5. Share stories about Sikhs with your networks. People will remain ignorant about Sikhs until they begin to read and hear stories about them. Sharing stories would not only help educate people about Sikhs — it would also help humanize them. We need both awareness and humanization in our current moment.
Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University. He is the Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition. Dr. Singh was honored as the Walter Wink Auburn Scholar-Activist for 2016.