A Bit of Social Activism

alex1987's picture

Average: 5 (2 votes)

First, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2013 is a year of marked improvement for mankind's path. With my current plans (to be addressed next time around - promise!), I know that my fiancee and I have a great year ahead of us.

Second, I am halfway through Yoganandaji's book and thoroughly enjoy it. I'm pleased to report I have picked up a number of books for Christmas that I look forward to reading over the coming months.

Third, thank you again for the comments and personal communiques! It means a lot to hear back from people on similar journeys, and your outreach is most touching. Thank you!

Lastly, as a volunteer advocate for the Sikh Coalition, I have kept a sharp eye on acts of religious intolerance in the New York City area (and elsewhere, though there are other advocates nationwide - there is even one in Mississippi!). As such, I wanted to share a letter I wrote last week to the office of the New York City Public Advocate, Mr. Bill de Blasio. The email was addressed to his deputy chief of staff, whom I had met two weeks earlier at a press event.

The email is presented with some added details for readers who may not be familiar with names and places mentioned. All editorials are in [brackets].

"Hi [name omitted] -

It is a pity that our first contact after meeting a couple of weeks ago is under these circumstances. As you are probably well aware, last week a man was pushed in front of the 7 train in Sunnyside [neighborhood in Queens] for no reason other than his outward appearance. He was of Indian extraction, and his assailant stated her reason for attacking him was, “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.” Her hatred and ignorance is both ill-founded and appalling. This incident comes less than a month after a 70-year old Muslim man in Elmhurst [a neighboring area in Queens] was beaten by two passersby on an early morning walk, and also hot on the heels of a serial killer in Brooklyn who targeted men of Middle Eastern descent.

The Sikh Coalition's stance is one of a civil rights group defending all religious faiths, believing that injustice to anyone, anywhere is an injustice to everyone, everywhere. What is more shocking is that this took place in Queens, which has the distinction of being the most diverse county in the United States.

I urge you to ask Mr. de Blasio to speak out against such hateful, ignorant acts of violence in a city that has a long history of embracing multiculturalism. Whether this man had been a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Jew, or Christian, we cannot permit any section of society in our city to live in fear.

I thank you for your time in reading my email.

Alex DiBlasi"

In the time since I wrote this email, I learned this morning that a press conference is being held in Queens to address the above-mentioned acts of hate (and others).

angel76's picture

Direct action to get people to meet

This is a great conscious initiative you took Alex. It is great because it come from a conscious place while most of those hate acts you address come not from pure evil but from unconscious places within people. And those unconscious places generate ignorance.

As one coming from a place where such prejudices and interfaith inter-religion interracial conflicts are of great existence, I can tell you that contacting the authorities is not enough and is not of long-term influence. What we have seen here as influential is direct action of getting people from different faiths to meet each other and talk. When they meet face to face, anger may still exist but demonetization cannot, animosity cannot, hatred cannot and eventually anger subsides. This is the incredible miracle of getting together. It works, This is part of what I do - to get Jews, Muslims, Christians, Israelis, Palestinians together here in Israel and also in Connecticut in the US.

This is a great mission you can undertake and have considerable influence. It is easier than you think. It shouldn't be done in secret, it shouldn't be done in small scale, it should be done in a way that everyone within your district will know about it so that it will radiate on others and have secondary influence.

angel76 | Wed, 01/09/2013 - 08:58
alex1987's picture

Bringing people together works

You could not be more correct on that point. I have talked to and met people of all walks of live, politically, religiously, and socially, and once you see how much we all truly have in common the barriers vanish quickly.

I am very happy to hear about your efforts as well, especially for such a contentious and hotbed of a conflict. It is not a battle of ideologies, but rather of leaders pitting their people against the other leaders' people.

A rally was held yesterday in Jackson Heights, Queens by various civil rights groups to address the issue. My fiancee was able to attend the rally and get photographs for the paper she writes for in Queens.

Unfortunately, the politician I addressed this letter to was not in attendance, which I found disappointing as Mr. de Blasio has been an outspoken critic of in-school bullying and acts of intolerance in the past, but the city councilman from my district, Jimmy Van Bramer, was.

Om shanti, salaam, shalom, peace, and love,

alex1987 | Wed, 01/09/2013 - 19:42