(Image source from: Vox)
The first Indian-origin United States Senator Kamala Harris, pointing the rise in racism and hate crimes against South Asian Americans since the November 2016 election of President Donald Trump has called on Americans to stand united and speak the truth to deal with these issues.
Speaking at a gala organized by Pratham, one of India's largest non-governmental education organizations, earlier this week, Harris made a strong call to Americans to stay united and fight collectively at a time when there are powerful voices that are "sowing hate and division among us."
Referring to the white nationalist rally last year that turned fatal in Charlottesville, Virginia, Harris said, "Let's speak truth if Charlottesville didn't make it clear, if the statistics that we are familiar with don't make it clear (that) racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-semitism are real in this country, let's speak that truth so that we can deal with it."
She said there is a need to speak the truth that "right now in the U.S., crimes against South Asian Americans since the election in the November of 2016 have increased by 45 percent. Let's speak that truth so we can deal with it."
She said that African Americans are still the number one target for hate crimes in the U.S.
She said Americans in a collective voice, have to speak the truth that splitting children from the arms of their parents is not about border security and that education is a human right that is a critical path to success.
"This is our collective fight, all of us as Americans have a stake in this fight and in the outcome. We are all in this together. I believe this is a collective fight when we know that one in five Indian-Americans has experienced discrimination in the workplace, she said.
"Years from now, when our children and grandchildren ask us where were you at that inflection moment in history, our answer will be what we did to participate, to give back, give forward, to bring lightness where there may be darkness, she said.
More than USD 3.6 million were raised for the organization's various education programs during the Pratham Gala, attended by over 600 prominent business and community leaders.
Pratham Chief Executive Officer Rukmini Banerji described the organization's plans to bring communities across India together through its Hamara Gaon (our village) initiative. From California to the beaches in Chennai...to the hospital in Chandigarh...to the work we do...we genuinely are connected, she said. If you don't have a community which is beefed-up, it will be really hard to build long-term foundations of both equity and productivity.
Pratham evolves practical solutions to address gaps in the education system and works in collaboration with India's governments, educators, communities, and industry to increase learning results and influence education policy.