First, to help individuals targeted by hate and bias, Congress must pass the Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act so that the Department of Justice can pursue more hate crime cases. Second, to combat the white supremacy that is driving repeated mass shootings across our nation, they have to pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act to create the tools, training and authorities to address this urgent threat. And lastly, to keep gurdwaras, synagogues, mosques, churches, and other houses of worship safe, they need to pass the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act to increase available federal funds.
These policy solutions, of course, are only a first step. It is going to take all of our families and communities working together to push back against violent hate and the powerful forces -- media, political, civil society and otherwise -- that enable it. But as we rise to this challenge, I hope that the Sikh spirit of chardi kala, or ever-rising optimism even in the face of struggle and opposition, can be a source of strength for everyone who has suffered in the face of bigotry.
From Atlanta last year to Oak Creek 10 years ago and every tragedy in between and beyond, America has mourned enough. We have gone nearly a decade with minimal substantive change to curb hate violence and inaction is clearly not the answer.
It’s time to fight harder for the society that we wish to live in -- one where no one should fear being attacked at work, in school, at the grocery store, in their house of worship, or anywhere else.
That, and nothing less, is the country in which we all deserve to live.
Aasees Kaur is a native of Atlanta with more than 10 years of experience working in civil rights and survivor advocacy. Views expressed here are her own.