Tragedy struck the Asian American community again on April 15, when a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis claimed eight lives, including four Sikh individuals. Sikhs comprised 90% of the facility’s staff.
As the shooting renewed debates on gun legislation, xenophobia and the role of white supremacy, it also stirred charged emotions within the Sikh community, including those here in the Bay Area, who say that the fear of being targeted and racially profiled is not new, especially in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Sikhs have faced violence and bigotry for decades, are among the nation’s most-targeted religious groups and are more likely to experience a hate crime than their fellow Americans, according to the Sikh Coalition.
In this moment of heightened awareness of anti-Asian racism, AAJA-SF Bay Area recognizes that many different Asian groups and ethnicities have faced disproportionate discrimination. While we all work to keep the anti-Asian hate movement visible in the mainstream, we urge journalists and newsrooms to be inclusive of all groups in the Asian diaspora, not just East Asians. Check out this reporter’s guide from Sikh Coalition, and this additional media advisory from AAJA National.
As we enter AAPI Heritage Month, we acknowledge that the monolith of “AAPI” is an imperfect label that does not always do justice to the lived experiences of the many individuals, cultures and groups of people who have roots in East, South, Southeast and West Asia. But we hope to keep improving our collective dialogue. Please see additional resources below.
Addressing India’s Covid-19 Crisis and the Pain in Sikh & South Asian Communities
India is currently facing a COVID-19 crisis of catastrophic proportions. The Bay Area is home to one of the largest Indian diasporas in the United States. We acknowledge the pain and grief that many in the Indian and South Asian communities are feeling every day right now. Below are resources and additional reading to help support the South Asian community as they currently face overlapping crises and challenges:
Stories on India’s Covid Crisis:
- “How to Help India Amid the Covid Crisis” (The New York Times)
- ‘Everyone knows someone’: India’s COVID crisis hits close to home for many across Bay Area (San Francisco Chronicle)
- ‘Each Hour Matters’: Bay Area Couple Fundraises for India’s Oxygen Crisis (KQED)
Stories on the Indianapolis Sikh Community:
- “Indianapolis Sikh Community Mourns 4 Of Its Members Killed In Shooting” (NPR)
- “Mass Shooting at Indianapolis FedEx Warehouse ‘Follows Pattern of Violence Against Sikhs’ Nationwide” (Democracy Now)
- “We are shook, again” (Vox)
- “Sikh Americans highlight historical, ‘invisible’ racism after Indianapolis shooting”(NBC)
- “Sikhs, South Asians call for solidarity across Asian America after Indianapolis shooting” (NBC)
Mental Health And Sikh Community Resources:
- Indiana Chapter of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: Ways to Support the Sikh Community
- NQAPIA (A federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander organizations): API Healer Network and Therapy resources
- Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund: SALDEF Grieves with the Sangat in Indianapolis
- Additional resources here from @asianmentalhealthcollective on Instagram.
Note: This post is taken from the chapter’s April email newsletter.