Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi-Urging Action on Gun Control NOW!

Dear Nancy Pelosi,

I just read an article in the New York Times that you’re the head of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. It’s great that there is a task force, now I ask you and your colleagues to work harder. Maybe you’re all confused because you’ve read that nearly 52% of Americans want to protect gun ownership, according to a Pew Survey. I could see that you’d be worried that you all would alienate many Americans and it could affect your re-election campaigns. I know the more you all come out strong against gun control, the more it feeds money into the juggernaut that funds campaigns for your opponents. But maybe it’s time to say screw it and not rely on projected polls. Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about political outcomes. Maybe it’s time that you and your colleagues on the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force keep at the task of enacting common sense gun laws at a Federal level. You could try to work on a narrative that still allows some Americans, perhaps those that have passed very strict background checks, for example, the right to own a gun. There is a middle ground as I see it. Personally, I’d like to see all guns eliminated from our society, there are other countries who have accomplished this without impacting freedom. But, I see the value in compromise. And right now we aren’t even compromising, or making any change.

I thought that the slaughter of 20 innocent children, and the destruction of a whole town’s soul, or dare I say our country’s soul, would have kept the momentum going. I watched the emotional pleas of the families who lost their dear children, the future lifeblood of our country, and I was so sure that we’d make some headway. But we didn’t, and I feel that we have let those children down. I feel like a fraud every time I tell my daughter she doesn’t have to worry about a shooting. I feel that I can’t speak out about my position because more and more people are beginning to get comfortable with the idea that protection of the 2nd Amendment trumps the safety and health of our nation. My anti-gun position has become a left-wing, libtard rant that has no merit. Every time there is a mass shooting all that happens is that we just numb ourselves because we can’t handle the idea that this IS the new normal. We live in a gun-toting country that allows the slaughter of parishioners in a church and a temple. We live in a country that allows families to be murdered watching a movie. And most despicable of all, we are no different than countries like Nigeria where terrorists target schools filled with children.

Please be a leader, rally the force of our voices. You aren’t hearing us speak out as much because we are lost, saddened and yes confused. Lead the way, it’s what you’re meant to do! If you need us to march the streets or sign millions of pages of petitions to pass the legislation that your task force has already written, we will! I felt compelled to write you before another mass shooting, or another gun battle erupts in the inner city streets, or another police shooting. Because my biggest fear is that I will also shut down and lose my will to speak out. I plan to share this on my social media channels as well. Hopefully, it can ignite others to write you and prove that we’re willing to stand against gun violence.

Sincerely,

Anita

A Turban is a Beacon of Love

 

In the rough and tumble of Oakland, CA, a place where violence can take hold, a grandparent-like Sikh couple walk around my local park and use the free city shuttle almost every morning. They don’t talk to each other; they seem more intent on walking. Based on their simple clothing, the twists of his white cotton turban and the muted caramel brown salwar kameez worn by the woman, I would guess they have not been in the US for long. Their shoes give it away. Black, flat sandals with thick rubber treads, worn-in but built to last. These are not from Target or Macy’s, I have seen them in the bazaars of Punjab.

These two, walk in peace, use the park and transportation available for all. Watching them gives me some comfort. I feel proud of them in a silly way. The man has a somewhat messy white beard, with the crooked gait of old age. His wife drapes her soft chunni properly over her head and shoulders and adjusts it without skipping a beat. I long to say Satsriakal, a traditional Punjabi greeting. I long to hug them. But all I do is amble behind, with a watchful eye, somehow silently securing their safety as they board the shuttle. But they know what they are doing and always seem safe. The world is alright.

Today I heard about the hate crime against Piara Singh, a Sikh man brutally beaten in Fresno, CA and I immediately think of the nameless couple walking around the park. On my morning commute, I’m on high watch. I want to be in the park first thing in the morning to make sure my secretly adopted PapaJi and BeJi can walk safely as they have been. I wish there I could create a clandestine shield and protect them from my emanating fear and track their moves without interrupting their routine. Maybe their children have warned them to stay home. This rational thought fills me with a wave of remorse. It’d be such a loss. I need to see their Sikh spirit, their courageous bravery rise to the occasion. Their morning constitutional in a busy city park, sitting on public transportation a silent protest against hatred and ignorance.

They are grandparents, walking outside temples, finding refuge in a world that can be isolating and they seek to connect to their religion and culture. This recent hate crime and all others that are directed at Sikhs prove we have much further to go in this country to create unity and to accept that the “other” is a neighbor, friend, coworker and classmate. A turban is a symbol of devotion to a spiritual and cultural identity, that of a Punjabi Sikh. This outward difference is where it ends, our souls, hearts, and connection to community and family translate similarly between all citizens. But in this world, we don’t foster this idea very broadly. The media thrives on alienation and propaganda, and their thirst for an enemy creates more innocent victims.

My prayer tonight is that we strive to find connections in the sameness of our internal selves, to look past visual and cultural differences and bond over what we all have in common. Blood and bones, light and dark. The outward vessel is just marker, a slight variation that uses a tiny fraction of DNA.

I will always keep an eye out. But I pay special attention to Sikhs, especially the grandparents, who should be respected as our most tangible connection to the past.

My heart goes out to all affected by hate. I suppose we all share this in common.

I invite you to learn more about Sikhs please visit www.saldef.org/learn-about-sikhs/

Then learn more about everyone.

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