Satinder Singh Malhi, a member of the staff of California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, talks about his experience growing up as a turban-wearing Sikh and how ignorance continues to impact him even today (via @sepiamutiny):
After he appeared on DeSaulnier’s behalf at a Memorial Day ceremony this year, an angry mother of an Iraq War veteran emailed the senator, denouncing Malhi’s presence. She wrote that a man in a turban “is a poor choice to represent you” at a patriotic event.
That woman might be surprised to learn that many Sikhs served alongside Allied forces during World Wars I and II; that their 500-year-old religion adheres to the principles of equality, justice and openness; and that Malhi and his wife, Gurpreet Kaur, are Martinez residents, taxpayers and as American as she is.
Coincidentally, the East County Times reproduces the staff profile of Satinder Singh Malhi that was printed in a 2011 newsletter from Senator DeSaulnier:
Satinder S. Malhi is a district representative working in our Walnut Creek District Office. He graduated from Alhambra High School in Martinez and later received his B.A. in Politics/Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz with honors. A native of Martinez, Satinder is a proud Sikh-American and has been very proactive in working on civil rights issues impacting the Sikh community since 9/11 at both the state and national level. His advocacy efforts on behalf of the Sikh community eventually sparked a strong desire to learn more about public policy formation and a career with the California State Senate.
Satinder Singh Malhi’s work in Sikh civil rights issues was recently evidenced in his key role to have California’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act signed into law this past weekend, and his assisting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin after the shooting attack.
However, despite his work on behalf of the government and community, he still combats ignorance and prejudice.
(Video above: documentary entitled “Sikhs Plagued by Ignorance” by students at California State University, Fresno, via @jakaramovement)