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Educate Yourself: No Need to Fear the Sikhs

I wanted to bring some attention to an article written today from Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Barnidge . His column entitled  “Bigotry Towards Sikhs a product of fear and ignorance” is about Satinder Singh Malhi who is a district director to Senator Mark DeSaulnier and some of the bigotry he and other Sikhs have experienced.

AD-11 Candidate Jim Frazier poses with Satinder S. Malhi at Antiochs 4th of July Parade

The column is a nice read and I encourage you to make your way over there to read it in full  as the article discusses how he was growing up that middle school classmates would try and knock the turban from his head and how even today, at 33, rides on BART trains would rather stand than sit next to him.  It goes onto discuss some of his personal experiences while discusses the Wisconsin shooting.

Mr. Barnidge also points out that Sikhism is the world’s fifth-largest religion, with 25 million worldwide followers (500,000 in the United States), it remains a mystery to many Americans. It did not, as some believe, originate in the Middle East but in the Punjab region of India. Nor is it a branch of Islam, despite similarities in practitioners’ appearance.

Kudos to Mr. Barnidge on this piece.

I’ve met Mr. Malhi on many occasions, and I wouldn’t say I know him real well, but from my encounters with him I must say that he is great! He is always smiling, friendly, and helping where he can! He is a good asset to the community.

Here is a link to the full article:
Bigotry Towards Sikhs a product of fear and ignorance

Staff Profile
Via a 2011 newsletter from Mark DeSaulnier

Satinder S. Malhi is a district representative working in our Walnut Creek District Office. He graduated from Alhambra High School in Martinez and later received his B.A. in Politics/Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz with honors. A native of Martinez, Satinder is a proud Sikh-American and has been very proactive in working on civil rights issues impacting the Sikh community since 9/11 at both the state and national level. His advocacy efforts on behalf of the Sikh community eventually sparked a strong desire to learn more about public policy formation and a career with the California State Senate.

In 2004, Satinder was admitted as one of only eighteen individuals selected from a nationwide applicant pool to participate in the highly prestigious Senate Fellows program. In the years since, he has worked in the State Capitol on a wide range of public policy issues including higher education, health care, consumer protection, local government and more. He has also served as a past Board Member on the Asian Pacific Islander Capital Association.

Satinder joined our district office last year. His current primary areas of focus within the district include education, labor, environment and agriculture. In addition, he serves as Senator DeSaulnier’s East County liaison. As a proud son of Asian-Indian immigrants, Satinder is fluent in Punjabi and is available to translate for those constituents who require it. When he is not busy assisting constituents and attending various events, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family. He is also actively involved with the El Sobrante Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) and helps out with various community service related projects.

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7 Responses »

  1. My neighbors are Sikhs and they are some of the kindest people i have ever met. I speak with them daily when I am walking my dogs and It saddens me that people mistakenly view them as someone who may wish them harm. That could not be further from the truth. The entire family from the grandparents down to the children are just amazing people!!! It has made my life better by living near them and they are more than welcome at my house!

    • Well said Chuck. If people would just educate themselves, they would embrace these people. Thanks for highlighting this Burk, I don’t read the Times anymore.

  2. Do people really not know the difference between muslim and Sikh? I can appreciate Satinder sharing his story because no one should have to put up with bigotry in this country.

  3. Nice to see Satinder share his story. Burk is right, he is a great guy! Where is Ranjit Ricky Gill on this issue?

  4. Didn’t we elect a black president? This should be a non-issue! People need to learn to love, not hate.

  5. Thank you for posting this. A few small comments:

    1. November is Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month in California.
    2. California is home to probably the largest and the oldest Sikh population in the US. The oldest Sikh house of worship (Gurdwara) is located in Stockton and is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year.
    3. Whether or not people don’t know the difference between Sikhs or Muslims, discrimination against any group is unfair.

    There are a couple of bills in front of Governor Brown waiting to be signed into law. One is AB1964 (Workplace Religious Freedom Act) which combats employee discrimination based on religion, and the other is SB1540, which revises the California high school curriculum to allow for the addition of modules involving Sikh Americans and other groups. Anyone interested is invited to call Governor Brown’s office (916-445-2841) and ask him to sign the bills, which will help reduce the discrimination that Sikhs face.

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  1. Is a “man in a turban” unpatriotic? « American Turban

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