Saturday, September 11, 2021

Remembering 9/11 as a Sikh

How life would change for so many of us. 20 years ago, we couldn't believe what we were seeing. We’ll never forget those who died, the many injured and the countless left to endure the loss of loved ones. It's imperative to take a second of your day to pay respects.

As a Sikh and others in and out of my community, 9/11 is also a day that would change our lives forever. With the news being broken of the planes being hijacked by "Terrorists" who apparently "looked like me" - (their words not mine) the hate crimes began.

Balbir Singh Sodhi, a successful American gas station owner got murdered in the aftermath of 9/11. The first of several cases as supposed acts of retaliation. The same goes for so many of our Muslim brothers and sisters who endured much harassment and still.

From personal experience, touring and exhibiting has not always been the nicest experience. An interesting observation wearing a chunni has certain public in open conversation with me, but wearing my chunni had more drama. Staring, moving away on public transport, being called "Terrorist" to name a few of many incidents.

Sikhs are often misidentified as Terrorists or Muslims by citizens who know nothing or little about religion and faith. And before its said, NO! it does not make it right targeting, or throwing another's faith on the line. It takes an open mind and will to learn and celebrate our differences.

But as always, my community knows how to rise above any challenge, it comes naturally and instilled in our blood from the time of our Gurus. It's why we're known to be warriors and serve humanity first.

As a Sikh who has seen and experienced the aftermath of 9/11, today is not only about remembering each and every individual who lost their life meaninglessly on the WTC attack. Its also a reminder and a pledge to carry the name high, of those in and out of my community who lost their lives being murdered, attacked and STILL getting discriminated on for "looking like them" - (again, their words not mine)…


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