SACRAMENTO — Before he gave his life for the liberties of all people to be free, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On Tuesday, South Asian community leaders will partner with African-Americans and other life-affirming communities to advance the civil rights movement in a rally at the California State Capitol.
Named “Justice Rising: A Rally for Universal Human Dignity,” the January 22 event will feature speeches by Bhajan Singh Bhinder, Founding Director of Sikh Information Centre, and M. R. Paul, Founding Director of the Bhim Rao Ambedkar Sikh Foundation. “We are proud to stand beside other champions of liberty to proclaim the inherent and inalienable dignity of every human being,” remarked Bhinder. “South Asia has a long tradition of defending civil liberties, and we are thrilled to consolidate with those who promote identical traditions here in the United States.”
The rally is sponsored by a wide range of minority rights, civil liberties, women’s advocacy, and religious organizations, including: Frederick Douglass Foundation of California, Sikh Information Centre, Cherish California’s Children, Consumers for Choice, Slavic Community Association, Organization for Minorities of India, Life Matters Journal, Church of the King Sacramento, Californians for Lower Gas Prices, El Dorado Campaign for Liberty, Conservative Opportunities Society of California, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Singh of Judah.
Bhinder will speak on the urgent need to safeguard religious liberties. “Sikhs originated in the 15th century in response to a cultural war on the right of each to worship as he chooses,” said Bhinder. “For 500 years, Sikhs defended that right for others. In the 20th century, our own religious liberties were threatened by the Indian state, so we fled to the USA to seek refuge. Tuesday, we will declare the universality of First Amendment liberties for the entire world.”
Paul will address the pressing issue of rape and denigration of women. “As Sikh Guru Nanak Dev taught, ‘without woman, there would be no one at all,’” said Paul. “The hero of the oppressed Mulnivasi people, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, said progress can be measured by the degree of progress which women have achieved. The earth cries for her daughters, so in Sacramento we will weep their tears for them and declare it is her body, so it is her choice.”
Other speakers at “Justice Rising” include Craig DeLuz, Carmon Friedrich, Jada Bernard, Jenilynn Davison, Steve Macias and David Hacker. The rally begins at 12 noon on the West Steps of the California State Capitol at the corner of 10th St. and L St.
For more information, visit justicerisingrally.com or RSVP on Facebook at facebook.com/events/130869187076966/.
Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to promote the individual rights of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and other minorities of South Asian origin, particularly those marginalized by the Hindu caste system. OFMI seeks to encourage secularism, the liberation of oppressed peoples, preservation of human rights, and the equality of all humanity. Visit OFMI online at www.OFMI.org.