Vigils and more needed

August 15, 2017

Vigils, yes…. and more.

Juxtaposed against the horrendous events in #Charlottesville, for me and my family, were the celebrations recognizing 70 years of Indian Independence here in the US. I am Indian American. Being Indian American is being American. While celebrating this weekend in New Jersey, a few thoughts came to mind:
1) will something be thrown at me - or at me and John, as an interracial couple - while we were walking in the India Day Parade in Edison;
2) will there be a heckler (or worse) at the flag raising in Passaic.

I did not have such thoughts during previous celebrations. Just like I did not wonder, when traveling abroad, whether my country would let me back in -- yet as a brown-skinned, foreign-born woman I wondered just that as I boarded an international fight in Newark earlier this year.

I have seen vigils taking place all over NJ and beyond. Vigils and gatherings are important, but what about those who are not attending the vigils -- especially the people who also say they are not the problem? Well-intentioned people need to stand up and speak out when they see bias and discrimination occurring in their everyday lives... Not only when egregious acts of violence and hate are taking place. Right now, people are responding from the heart, as we should… But on every other "normal" day in America, we must also be ready with responses from our heads in order to advocate, take action, and move our communities and our nation away from hate and towards justice. Below are some of my favorite resources on the topics related to racism and social justice.