Today on Sept. 11, 2021, our nation marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. We remember and honor the lives lost that day, the 3,000 who died in the attacks and the first responders who came to help.

We remember and honor all of the victims of hate crimes and discrimination, those killed and injured in the backlash in the weeks and months that followed.

For the Sikh American community, and many others in the Arab, Muslim, and South Asian community, we remember the double trauma of those days 20 years ago. First, the pain that all Americans felt that Tuesday morning. Second, fearing for our families, friends, and neighbors due to the backlash that followed.

We reflect on the experiences of those who were harmed and continued to be harmed by the policies, crimes, and daily indignities caused by government policies and those who turn to and use the ideologies of hate and discrimination.

We remain inspired by the resilience, solidarity, and persistence of the community. As Sikhs, we came together to challenge hate and discrimination. We built relationships that allowed us to advocate for an inclusive government. We educated ourselves and others, and we continue to do so today.

We also reflect on the solidarity shown that day and in the weeks, months and years after.

We remember the rally in the days following the attacks at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism, next to the U.S. Capitol, where Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian organizations, including SALDEF (then known as the Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Taskforce, SMART), were joined by over 40 Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Black, Hispanic, interfaith, and veterans organizations to build bridges to end hate motivated violence. We remember the countless stories of local solidarity, compassion, and support. We are inspired by how these relationships have grown and the new relationships that have built between the Sikh American community and others, as we stand up for the rights of all.

Over the past 20 years, our community and country have changed. We have made progress. But, unfortunately, discrimination and hate crimes continue.

We will always remember the events of that day and the weeks that followed. We will continue to reflect on and teach our young leaders how the aftermath of the attacks shaped the policies and environment we live in today. This is why we joined with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Congresswoman Judy Chu in supporting a Congressional resolution that memorializes the victims of hate and discrimination and recognizes the impact of government policies on our communities.

We remain as committed as ever to building the strength of the Sikh American community and taking on the challenges we face.


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