“The One Light is the light in all bodies.”
ਏਕਾ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸਰੀਰਾ ॥
Let’s #neverforget1984 but for the moment #blacklivesmatter is where our focus needs to be.
I wondered why I felt uncomfortable putting up an orange square on my Instagram stories. It’s because I felt like it was doing the same, as those saying #alllivesmatter and that’s what I am helping fight against.
That is why I had put up a black square. I had taken a pledge to learn more and understand what I had been doing to add to systematic racism and where I had to do more unlearning.
When this movement began, I did start by initially thinking well all lives matter don’t they?!
This sparked the thought that I, myself, had not understood what the movement was about and how I had myself been conditioned to feel. Being a person of colour surely I have had my fair share of racism so of course, I understand and don’t need to look into it more right? Wrong.
I thought I had watched enough movies and read some books. I could see the history and the fight for equal rights, so obviously I knew enough? Wrong.
All I had done was acknowledge it and move on with life. As I had done every time the oppression of black people came up. It happened, I understand but that’s where you don’t stop.
Taking the discomfort further and reading more, I realised there was so much more. I started feeling like I was not anti – racist. The overwhelm made me want to stop.
But this is where I need to make the growth, I had educated myself about it but I would still shy away from it. This was just happening and it was just out there. There was nothing more I could do? This is how I could have thought this time round and not put anything into practice.
Here is where I can use my voice and help the #blacklivesmatter movement. By calling out my own feelings, so others can also feel like they can speak up. Realising where I need to learn more.
Though I understand and have knowledge of what has happened to my own religion, it’s not the issue we need to raise awareness for now, by using #sikhlivesmatter.
Yes, we need to acknowledge and share what’s happened as it is the 36th Anniversary of the attacks on Harmandir Sahib.
We at this point in time do not need to go further and make a day for it by associating another coloured square. Our seva* is to help #blacklivesmatter and we are taught to be selfless even during our own pain, as we fight for those who need it.
*Seva also Sewa, short for the word Karseva refers to “selfless service”, work or service performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit. Punjabi: ਸੇਵਾ)https://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Seva
I felt I might be judged if I didn’t put up an orange square, it would be as if I cared less about my own but its not true and I know it.
But was worried about those who would think otherwise and judge me. “Oh she put up a black square on her grid but not orange. She needs to do it for her own, but I bet you she isn’t because this isn’t a ‘cool trend’”
This is what we need to break through, the judgement from doing what you think is right in fear of not ‘doing the right thing’ by our communities.
And so this is why I put up an orange square in my Instagram stories with only #sikh #neverforget1984, just to ‘show face’.
But that unease I felt was then there again when my friend questioned #sikhlivesmatter and I felt like I had to defend myself and tell her I did it because I felt I would be judged if I didn’t do it. But that in itself is not right and it is just playing into the stereotypes we need to break out of.
Putting up another square isn’t going to help anyone right now, only take away from those who need our voice right now at this very crucial point in time, not those who will start diluting it by adding other causes.
We need to keep the #blacklivesmatter movement more than just a few days before we go and change the narrative and separately try and fight our own causes. This is where the work is, to continue this movement and project the voices even more.
Because fighting one cause at a time will mean we can get to #alllivesmatter. Uniting with one cause and focusing on it as long as its needed wont take away from your own fight. The pain and the cause still remains and it will still be there once we have helped our brothers and sisters.
I wouldn’t have done more than just post on social media and doing things in silence behind the scenes. I had to call myself out even if it causes people to have a problem.
I took down the orange square and had to call myself out otherwise things will never change
I realised that I had just fallen into the ‘what will others think/say mentality’ which is rife in the South Asian community. The peer pressure of having do things a certain way so you don’t go against the grain and have people think:
‘…she wasn’t raised properly’
‘…what will her parents think’
‘…she cares about black people but not her own.’
‘…she used to hang out with all sorts when she was younger, no wonder she doesn’t care for her own’
That’s the problem right here, we are not meant to be caring just for ‘our own’ people, we are all meant to be one race. The human race. Fear of judgement and gossip instead of saying how you feel, is where we are failing. Yes we need to make more people aware of the atrocities we faced but it doesn’t have to depicted with a # sikh lives matter. I will continue to keep posting and sharing about the #sikhgenocide as I have been, that’s not what the issue is, we need to think about the message we are trying to achieve.
Sikhism stands for human liberty, equality and fraternity. It believes in universal brotherhood, universal peace and prosperity with commitment for selfless service to the entire human race. The Sikh prayer all over the world is not confined to a single community, a nation or a country. It is for well-being of entire human race. It is universal and all embracing. It is not confined to a single caste, colour, creed, country or a gender. It does not know the man made barriers or cruel diversities but believes in:-
-Universal brotherhood of mankind.https://www.sikhmissionarysociety.org/sms/smssikhism/principles/