This is what a Sikh child faces in America

Just over 50% of all Sikh children report school bullying....

Two decades ago, when I was in the second grade, a substitute teacher asked me to stand up in front of my class and talk about my religion: Sikhism. At 7 years old, I tried to explain it as best I could and avoid being ridiculed. I remember feeling totally unprepared and struggling afterward with the fear of being exposed like that again. At 7, I was already afraid of public speaking....

...As I got older, this bullying intensified, and one student tried to cut my unshorn hair (also an article of my faith). By the time I got to high school, I no longer felt safe in unsupervised places. I hid the depth of the problem from my parents for years, but when they discovered the truth, we approached educators, and I was forced to name the names of my fellow students. This news spread like wildfire, and the only result was that I was further ostracized...

....My Sikh religious articles of faith include a commitment to justice, tolerance and equality; many American Sikhs and I have struggled, because our faith has also been a siren call for fear, bigotry and hate in this country -- and this problem continues to play out in our nation's classrooms. According to the Sikh Coalition, just over 50% of all Sikh children report school bullying. For turbaned Sikh children like I was, that number jumps to a staggering 67% -- nearly double the national average....
...Looking back at my own experiences growing up, I can only imagine now how impactful such programming would have been for me and my peers back then. It's critical that our kids see the humanity behind our differences. We may be of different shades, but leading with unity is the key to positive change.

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