In the wake of the devastation of the Wisconsin Gurdwara (temple) shooting, it has become clear that, as South Asians, we must educate those around us as to how our identity is created and what this identity means.
As a South Asian, the call to stand in solidarity with those who follow the Sikh religion and lead a movement of greater cultural understanding is more crucial than isolating ourselves behind religious affiliations.
The solidarity can be shown by educating the communities that we live in on the topics of creation of identity.
Sikh identity is created on a foundation of beliefs that include equality, leadership and one God. It is important to rise to the challenge of leading by peace and understanding. Some actions that can be taken include:
1. Research to have a deeper understanding of the foundations of the religion called Sikhism. Establish an understanding of what the principles of the religion are and become aware of how those principles are and are not practiced within the community.
2. Engage in conversations with Asians and non-South Asians on the tragedy in Wisconsin. Through these conversations, we raise awareness of this incident. By creating awareness, we educate and education allows us to take a stand to prevent these types of activities in the future.
3. Educate others about your culture and your background. Education and conversation about who we are and how we came to be helps to increase understanding, which in turn leads to decreased racism.
The need to take action for the betterment of society is greater than the need to isolate ourselves based on categorization such as religion.
Manpreet Dhillon is an advocate for crosscultural understanding to create a deeper sense of empowerment for South Asian Women.