Over the past week, I have spoken to several Sikhs who shared how personally upset they felt about the attack on Dr. Prabhjot Singh in New York just over a week ago. In the context of repeated attacks on innocent Sikh Americans in recent years, this most recent incident has left many with increasing senses of frustration, disappointment, and vulnerability. The solution to the issue of hate crimes against our community is not an easy one to parse, and this, too, adds to the frustration that many Sikhs have felt.
Hate crimes are implicitly designed to do this very thing: they do not victimize a specific individual alone, but entire communities. The stress and trauma on members of a targeted community is real — in this case, we see impacts on the well-being of Sikhs individually and within families.
Back in June, I shared the announcement of an academic study currently underway on this very subject at the University of Massachusetts-Boston by Dr. Kiran S.K. Arora, who is examining “how experiences of religious discrimination and race-related stress may impact the relationships, mental health, and overall well-being of Sikhs.” It is critical for us to understand how the effects of such religious discrimination is manifesting in our lives, so that we may begin to navigate how to address the impacts of such trauma in the context of our individual and collective psychological well-being.
The study is still seeking participants to complete an anonymous survey, and for those who have been particularly affected by the recent incidents of discrimination targeting Sikh Americans, participating in this study may be a way to channel those feelings towards something beneficial to the community. Participation is anonymous and identifying information is not used in order to ensure that this is a safe way for participants to share their experiences. The end of the survey also allows people to provide short narratives, which are invaluable for the researcher.
The survey is accessible online, is free, and only takes a short amount of time. If you have not participated yet, find out more information and access the survey at https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=153728.