Tired of the continuous discrimination and attacks on Sikhs, an awareness campaign has been launched by the Sikh leaders in the US.
The We Are Sikhs campaign began on April 14, the Sikh New Year of Vaisakhi. It is being organized by a non-profit National Sikh campaign and is being funded by Sikh leaders and their families across the US.
— We Are Sikhs (@we_are_sikhs) April 14, 2017
Since the twin tower attack in September 2001, there has been an anti-Muslim sentiment in the US and Sikhs have also been affected by it and have faced racial discrimination due to their beards and turbans. This attire of the Sikhs, which is a symbol of equality and opposes the caste system in India, is often misunderstood and attacks on them go to show the wide ignorance that the people of America have about them.
These awareness ad campaigns shall air on CNN, Fox News and on TV stations in Fresno California, which is home to large Sikh communities. These ads make no mention of the more than 300 hate crimes that have been reported against Sikhs since 2001. They feature families explaining how the world’s fifth largest religion was founded in India and how it aligns with American values. They don’t even have references to Donald Trump, whose presidency is believed to have aggravated the situation of hate crimes against immigrants in America.
In recent surveys commissioned by Sikh leaders, it was found that nearly 9 in 10 American Sikhs have experienced negative reactions or abusive language and 60% of Americans know nothing at all about Sikhs.
Gurwin Ahuja, who worked in the Obama White House, recalls school children once asking him during a White House tour if he was a member of the Taliban. “When people see us, they think we are either religious extremists or terrorists.”
— Sikh Campaign (@sikhcampaign) April 14, 2017
Sikhs have been a part of the American culture for a very long time now. They have adapted and adopted the American values which go hand-in-hand with their own like tolerance, religious freedom, and gender equality. Time and again they have proven their loyalty and helpfulness. Their selfless acts during the recent California floods cannot be forgotten.
This awareness campaign is another effort at peace and we hope the people of the US would finally understand that just because someone looks different, he/she is not a terrorist.