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July 4 Brings Mixed Feelings for Some Minority Communities in USA

July 4 is Independence Day of USA How do you celebrate during what some people of color consider troubling times?

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Chief Arvol Looking Horse, a spiritual leader of the Great Sioux Nation puts on his headdress for an interfaith ceremony at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D. As cities and towns host July 4th parades and fireworks shows, some minority residents are expressing mixed feelings about the holiday used to reaffirm the country's founding based on equality and civil liberties. VOA

As many in the United States celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, some minorities have mixed feelings about the revelry of fireworks and parades in an atmosphere of tension on several fronts.

How do you celebrate during what some people of color consider troubling times?

Blacks, Latinos and immigrant rights advocates say the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, recent non-convictions of police officers charged in the shootings of black men, and the stepped-up detentions of immigrants and refugees for deportation have them questioning equality and the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the United States.

Filmmaker Chris Phillips of Ferguson, Missouri, says he likely will attend a family barbecue just like every Fourth of July. But the 36-year-old black man says he can’t help but feel perplexed about honoring the birth of the nation after three officers were recently cleared in police shootings.

FILE - Protestors rally during a Black Lives Matter demonstration, July 10, 2016, in Cincinnati. More than a thousand protested against the shootings of black men by police officers.
Protestors rally during a Black Lives Matter demonstration, July 10, 2016, in Cincinnati. More than a thousand protested against the shootings of black men by police officers.

Police shootings

Since the 2014 police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, officer shootings — of black males in particular — have drawn scrutiny, sparking protests nationwide. Few officers ever face charges, and convictions are rare. Despite video, suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted last month in the shooting of Philando Castile, a black man. The 32-year-old school cafeteria worker was killed during a traffic stop July 6, almost a year ago.

“Justice apparently doesn’t apply to all people,” said Phillips, who saw the protests that roiled his town for weeks following Brown’s death. His yet-unreleased documentary “Ferguson 365″ focuses on the Brown shooting and its aftermath. “A lot of people have lost hope.”

Unlike Phillips, Janette McClelland, 55, a black musician in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said she has no intention of celebrating July Fourth.

“It’s a white man’s holiday to me. It’s just another day,” McClelland said. “I’m not going to even watch the fireworks. Not feeling it.”

McClelland, who grew up in Los Angeles before the urban unrest of the 1960s, said she fears cities may see more violence amid a feeling of helplessness. “I’m praying and trying to keep positive,” she said.

FILE - protesters rally outside a federal courthouse in Detroit. Protesters rallied in hopes public outcry will again delay the deportation of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo from the United States to Mexico.
protesters rally outside a federal courthouse in Detroit. Protesters rallied in hopes public outcry will again delay the deportation of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo from the United States to Mexico.

Immigration

Immigration was a key issue during the presidential campaign for both parties. Since then, President Donald Trump’s administration has stepped up enforcement and instituted a scaled-back partial travel ban that places new limits on entry to the U.S. for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries. The temporary ban requires people to prove a close family relationship in the U.S. or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business. On Friday, the administration announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would arrest people — including relatives — who hire smugglers to bring children into the U.S. illegally.

Patricia Montes, a Boston resident and immigrant from Honduras, said she’s grateful for the opportunities and security the United States has given her. Yet this year, she doesn’t know how to approach the Fourth of July holiday.

“I fell very conflicted,” said Montes, an immigrant advocate. “I mean, what are we celebrating? Are we celebrating democracy?”

Montes said it pains her to see children fleeing violence get turned away and deported back to Central America without due process. She also is disturbed by recent immigration raids in Latino and Muslim communities that spark more fear and uncertainty.

In Texas, Latino activists have been protesting a state law that forces cities and towns to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. In New Mexico and Michigan, immigrant advocates have been rallying on behalf of Iraqi refugees facing deportation.

“There’s a lot not to be proud about when celebrating the Fourth of July,” said Janelle Astorga Ramos, a University of New Mexico student and daughter of a Mexican immigrant. “Even though it’s a time to celebrate as a country and (for) our unity, it’s definitely going to be on the back of our minds.”

Despite those problems and concerns, Ramos said her family will recognize the holiday and visit Elephant Butte, New Mexico, a popular summer destination. “This is our home,” Ramos said.

Isabella Baker, a 17-year-old Latina from Bosque Farms, New Mexico, said she’ll celebrate the holiday based on her own views of patriotism.

“More people are standing up because of the political climate,” Baker said. “That makes me proud.”

America Indians and their supporters protest outside of the White House, March 10, 2017, in Washington, to rally against the construction of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline.
America Indians and their supporters protest outside of the White House, March 10, 2017, in Washington, to rally against the construction of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Pipeline protest

For months, members of the Standing Rock Sioux were at the center of a protest against an oil pipeline in North Dakota. A protest camp was set up. The tribe said the Dakota Access oil pipeline plan could pose a threat to water sources if there was a leak and cause cultural harm. Police made more than 700 arrests between August 2016 and February 2017. The Trump administration approved the final permit for the $3.8 billion pipeline, which began operating June 1. The pipeline moves oil from western North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois. Four Sioux tribes are still fighting in federal court to get the line shut down.

Ruth Hopkins, a member of South Dakota’s Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe, said Native Americans have always viewed the Fourth of July with ambivalence, and this year will be no different.

However, there will be celebrations.

Her Lake Traverse Indian Reservation holds an annual powwow on July 4 to honor veterans as a way to take the holiday back, she said.

“Also, a lot of people up here use fireworks and the holiday to celebrate victory over Custer for Victory Day,” said Hopkins, referring to Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse defeating George Custer and his 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Still, the holiday comes after tribes and others gathered in North Dakota to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its fight against the pipeline, Hopkins said. Because of that, water and land rights remain on peoples’ mind, Hopkins said.

Gyasi Ross, a member of Montana’s Blackfeet Nation and a writer who lives on the Port Madison Indian Reservation near Seattle, said all the tensions this Fourth of July are a blessing because it has awakened a consciousness among people of color.

“The gloves are off,” Ross said. “We can’t ignore these things anymore.”

However, Ross said he wants his young son to be hopeful about the future. They will likely go fishing on the Fourth of July.

“I still worry about getting shot or something like that,” Ross said. “All this stuff is so heavy to be carrying around.” (VOA)

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California Sikh community Raises Money to keep City’s Fireworks Show Alive

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Sikh community
Sikh community. Pixabay
  • There are about 500,000 Sikhs presently living in the US, and it has also become the fifth largest religion round the world
  • Turbans are sported by a majority of Sikhs, which makes some people think that they are Muslims

California, July 09, 2017: Visalia, a city in California, was close to having to cancel its annual fireworks show because of lack of funds; but when the mayor said to Amritpal Singh about the issue, the businessman saved the grand occasion of the Fourth of July.

Reportedly, Singh along with the rest of the Sikh community of the city rallied together and they raised $10,000 for the grand event, which is also going to be a benefit for charity for children. Mayor Warren Gubler was quoted as saying to NBC News, “Visalia considers this to be very generous and helpful. We appreciate their show of patriotic support, as one of our newer groups of American citizens.”

ALSO READ: Sikh Temples in California accommodate thousands of Dam Evacuees in Yuba City

According to report published in The Week, it was found in a survey conducted in January 2015 that 6 out of 10 Americans knew “nothing at all” about Sikhism; while a mere 11 percent only, personally knew someone who was Sikh.

There are about 500,000 Sikhs presently living in the US, and it has also become the fifth largest religion round the world, but due to its presence under the radar in the US; a nationwide campaign for education was recently launched for educating the people and making them aware of their Sikh-neighbors. A Sikh from Fresno, California, Bill Singh Nijjer; was quoted as saying that while Sikhs have been living in central California, for about a century, “we haven’t done any outreach. That is probably the reason we were targeted and misidentified.”

Turbans are sported by a majority of Sikhs, which makes some people think that they are Muslims (even though most of the Muslims do not don turbans), and some also assume that it has been a major reason that caused violence against the Sikhs. Gagan Kaur, from Fresno was quoted as saying to NBC news, “Everyone I know has experienced discrimination. I hope that one day this [campaign] will allow our children to not have to go through what we went through.”

– prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Are You a Racist? Understanding the evils of Racism to Eliminate it

In a progressive world, global society must eliminate racism

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Black Lives Matter protest, Pixabay

By Saksham Narula

  • Racism exists even today as we move towards a global society
  • In order to eradicate this evil, it becomes important to understand what it is

July 01, 2017: Racism is an age old phenomenon. It is so historic that people actually believe racism is innate in human nature. This is false. Racism has developed over time. Its evolution has been consistent with the evolution of human society in general. Racism exists in different forms over a period of time; Slave trade, feudal serfs, labor, etc.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Simply put, racism is the discrimination of an individual or a group on the basis of their racial identity. The United Nations (UN) also puts ethnic discrimination under racism. Flipping through the history books, we will come to understand the instances during which racism was practiced and how. Romans used the Jews as forced labor. Adolf Hitler’s atrocities were committed against people of the Jewish race. The slave trade from Africa against the African race. The appalling system of ‘Apartheid’ in South Africa where racism was blatantly institutionalized. The ethnic cleansing of Rwanda and Yugoslavia was an extreme act of violence. These events are dark moments in the history.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) hence was a move by the UN which was later adopted by the General Assembly in 1948. Racism was gradually abolished, however, its elements still exist today. The UDHR promoted political, social, cultural, economic equality regardless of the race, identity, ethnicity, descent of the individual.

 

Martin Luther King was a strong advocate against racism. Pixabay

In the 1968 Olympics, the famous Black Power Salute incident took place when two Afro-American athletes raised a black gloved fist high in support of black freedom movement in America.

Racial discrimination on the basis of color became popular during the European conquest in different parts of the world. Today, it can be observed in the form of ‘Black Lives Matter’ in United States of America, which was a huge uproar in the Presidential Elections of 2016. Black Lives Matter highlighted a certain myth. The movement began with good intentions. However, when some violent incidents took place, it was heavily criticized. The critics stated that discrimination against an individual or group from white race is equal discrimination.

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The practice of racial discrimination can be seen in work, society, sports, entertainment and media. It can be said that the long history of racism is embedded in the modern day society and institutions. Surely it is not as violent or radical in its approach as it used to be, but it still aims against the inequality of a certain section of society.

It is indeed complicated to deal with the evils of racism. The issue cannot be tackled overnight. But it is the community as a whole that can show solidarity as one common race.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

 

2 responses to “Are You a Racist? Understanding the evils of Racism to Eliminate it”

  1. Racism is in the roots of the world.We may think that we are not a racist but at some point in life,we do discriminate amongst people on certain basis and this fact can not be denied.

  2. Now if after reading this article you feel you are somewhat stuck in between let me help you out.Where you are stuck – it is called pseudo-racism. You may not be against black or jews but probably against Muslims .You are probably only able to culturally accept the differences between your surrounding cultures, that too is not healthy. Pseudo racism is also racism and it should be stopped too. Every culture is different, that makes their thinking different.
    Deep down everywhere and anywhere it is just LOVE, HAPPINESS & POSITIVITY that matter.

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Sikh man Detained at Immigration Check In

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Visa application, (representational Image) Wikimedia

May 14, 2017: Gurmukh Singh had fled persecution in his country and had been in California, United States for nearly two decades after he lost appeal on the latest deportation order made by the U.S. government.

Singh, 47 who is married to Balwinder Kaur, is a father of two US-born daughters. He was taken into custody on Monday by failing to achieve a stay in his case.

In 1998, he sneaked into the United States without a visa via the Mexico border. He later tried to secure religious asylum within the United States but failed to do so. He was later ordered to deport.

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When Singh married his wife who is a US citizen in 2010, he was again surfaced to the deportation case. However this time with the new status of a residency visa.

He was subsequently jailed for five months. The decision proved to be a very difficult time for him and his family. But, after some right activists appealed for his bail he was finally released.

Even though he has been regularly checking with the department of Immigrant and Customs Enforcement, his outcome against the deportation order of 1999 is still pending.

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Alan Lowethal a democratic representative sponsored a private immigration bill last week in an attempt to fix Singh’s immigration status. Singh’s lawyers state that they have filed a request to put the deportation on hold.

Lately, Trump administration’s new laws on tightening the US-Mexico border and boost deportations which have been another major blow to Singh’s case.

The ICE chairperson Virginia Kice says even though America is a country of immigrants, it is a country of laws too.

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On Monday, he told reporters before his check-in that he was afraid of what would happen to his wife, who suffers diabetes, and his daughters, one who is soon headed to college, if he were taken into custody.

“We are completely devastated. This has completely broken us apart, emotionally and physically,” Singh’s 18-year-old daughter Manpreet told AFP.

She said her father has no criminal record, has always paid his taxes and just sought to “live a normal life and feed his family.”

“Watching him emotionally break down is probably the last thing any daughter wants to see,” Manpreet said, her voice breaking.

– By Staff writer at Newsgram

2 responses to “Sikh man Detained at Immigration Check In”

  1. I was refused a student visa 20 years ago even though i had full funding fellowship about at top 20 univ. even though all my brothers and sisters are US citizens , i never tried to enter USa gain legally and illegally bcuz of the illogical outdated us immigration law which gives preference to fraud ,fake and ilegal immigrants. US somehow prefers itselves to be abused all the time.

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