Sarbpreet Singh has never written a letter to an American president, until now.
Singh says Sikhs have been the target, once again, of hate crimes since the election, so this week he wrote a letter to President-elect Trump.
He joins us to talk about the role he believes interfaith communities can play in healing the political and racial divide in the country.
Some of his hopes and prescriptions are outlined in the letter, an excerpt of which he read on the show on Friday:
“Mr. Trump, it saddens me to say a few days after the election, the heart does not seem to be beating as it should be.
Swastikas on the doors at the New School. Calendar invites for daily lynchings at U Penn. Threats in Michigan to set a young Muslim woman’s hijab on fire. Sixth graders in LA being mocked and threated with deportation by a substitute teacher. A US postal worker in Massachusetts screaming at a customer, insisting that he ‘go home’.
Even as a Sikh, armed with the enduring strength of my faith and the unique principle of ‘Chardi Kala’, ever ascending high spirits, it is difficult for me to not experience some despair. My children were born in this country. They know no other home. What sort of nation will they inherit? What anxieties and petty humiliations await them because of their ‘otherness’?
Trust me! I am not alone in feeling this.
There are many who would say that you had a hand in unleashing the hounds of bigotry that bay unabashedly about us. Honestly, I don’t care because I have a different axe to grind.
You will be the President of those who turned out in record numbers and voted you into office, but you need to remember that you will also be the President of those who did not. Even more importantly you have an even greater responsibility to those Americans who feel particularly vulnerable today, buffeted by the powerful winds of change that have unlocked the gates of the most powerful office in the world for you.
Ultimately, you will be judged neither by your most ardent followers or those who vilify you in the strongest terms. You will be judged by history.
How will President Trump be remembered? As the demagogue who stood idly by as the lunatic fringe that gleefully flew his colors systematically dismembered the egalitarian ideals that are the underpinnings of this great nation? Or perhaps as the visionary leader who embodied the best attributes of the millions of decent and god fearing people who handed him the keys to the kingdom.
The choice is yours to make and your words and actions in the next few weeks will illuminate the path that you are about to take.”