Tenth Anniversary of 9/11
Los Angeles, Sep. 06, 2011
Tenth anniversary of the inferno of September 11, 2001 is coming close. We will pay respects to those who lost their lives to the forces of fanaticism and terrorism. The terrorists made US as their target but the victims were not only Americans, they were people from all religions and from all over the world. And people and governments from all over the globe supported America’s war on terrorism and forces from several countries went in pursuit of terrorists to the caves of Afghanistan.
American people’s anger was beyond control. In retaliation, they committed hate crimes and targeted people of many ethnicities – Muslim, Sikh, South Asian. Sikhs in particular became victims of backlash violence as their dress code resembled closely with that of the master-mind bearded and turban-clad Osama Bin Laden. Turbaned Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed just four days after September 11. Three more turbaned Sikhs were killed and several others have become targets of violence during the last ten years.
Over the years, number of hate crimes have decreased but the affected ethnic communities have to join hands to reach their elected officials for strong hate crime legislation. Also, they should jointly convince Department of Justice to enforce the existing hate crime laws aggressively. Above all, they must not stay isolated but engage with the community at large and show their presence in the institutions and societal groups of the country of their adoption.
The community activists and leaders of the ethnic groups have a special responsibility. They should reach other communities, network with them and build coalitions. When organizing community programs, they should invite, besides the elected officials, people who come in contact with other people, such as school teachers and principals, members of PTAs, police and fire officials, etc.