I was 11 the first time someone called me a terrorist. Growing up as a Sikh in Texas, people made all kinds of assumptions about us, and they called us all kinds of names. The hate only got worse after 9/11. 70% of Americans couldn’t identify a Sikh, despite the fact that Sikhi is the world’s fifth largest religion. Ignorance really did a number on us. How could we be so noticeable, yet invisible at the same time?

There weren’t many opportunities to educate people, nor did we have the platform to tell our own stories. I promised myself then that I would devote my life to creating awareness about Sikhi and building bridges across difference.

I’ve spent the past two decades studying and practicing Sikhi, while also doing what I could to create new opportunities and help strengthen our community. Now, twenty years after making that promise to myself, and after years of being told that “there’s no market for a book about Sikhs or Sikh teachings,” I am thrilled to share that my dream is finally coming true.

This summer, Penguin Random House, the world’s largest publisher, will launch my new book, The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life.

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For the past five years, I’ve worked with one of the top editors at one of the premiere imprints—Jake Morrissey of Riverhead—to create the book of my dreams. (Riverhead’s short list of authors includes Marlon James, Priya Parker, Khaled Hosseini, Daniel Pink, Brit Bennett, Anne Lamott, and Carlo Rovelli).

In a country where most Americans don’t even know who Sikhs are, and in a world where our community is so often targeted in ignorant hate, simply knowing and connecting with one another offers us a better path.

In this book, I share stories as a window into life as a Sikh in America today – in my skin, in my shoes, in my turban. I also share how basic Sikh teachings, like oneness, love, and selfless service, have helped me navigate the challenges I’ve faced in ways that help me feel authentic, whole-hearted, and hopeful. I’ve studied Sikh wisdom my entire life, as a practitioner and as a scholar, and I’ve come to believe that the insights here are both timeless and universal. All of us can benefit from Sikh teachings, no matter our background. That’s what I aim to share through the book, and I hope these insights prove useful to you, too.

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I’ll be gearing up for the book launch over the next several months, and hopefully you’ll come across The Light We Give in unexpected places. In the meanwhile, my ask of you is to preorder a copy of the book, preferably from your local bookstore. I also invite you to purchase copies as gifts for your friends and colleagues, to bookmark it on Goodreads or to plan discussion groups around the book this summer.

The Sikh community has been overlooked for far too long, and Sikh teachings have so much to offer our world right now. I’m excited to be part of that change, and I’m grateful to you for being on this journey with me.

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