Let’s Fight Hate Together

Posted on August 8, 2017

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Sunday morning, August 5, is a day Sikh Americans will never forget. A neo-Nazi gunman took the lives of six Americans and permanently injured several more at a gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Americans of all faiths and political persuasions should pledge to make bias prevention a top priority.

The Sikh religion was founded over five centuries ago by Guru Nonak. His message of universal equality and community service foreshadowed the highest ideas of America. The turban that Sikhs wear to express their faith is a constant reminder to lead an ethical life.

Sikhs are not the only Americans who experience hate crimes. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates there are over 250,000 hate crime victimizations in our nation every year. An attack on any person, for any reason, is a threat to our collective security.

I believe that progress against hate is possible if schools, elected officials and interfaith groups take small but consistent steps

toward combating bias.

Parents and teachers must strengthen bullying-prevention programs in our schools.

At the same time, our elected officials must use their power to unify Americans. Political rhetoric trickles down to our cities and neighborhoods. Often political advertisements are hate driven and should stop being on television.

When our political leaders perpetuate stereotypes about Muslims and immigrants or deny rights to the LGBTQ community, I believe this makes hate crimes more likely against those targeted communities.

On the other hand, if political leaders use their convening authority to speak out repeatedly against hate, this will set a positive tone for our national discourse and reduce the risk for hate crimes.

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