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Jagdish Singh In Her Own Words

I had a passion and compassion to stand up and speak out against injustice of any kind since I was five years old, and growing up in a small village in India. I was forbidden to play with some of my playmates because they belonged to so called low caste and class" I felt suffocated inside because I wanted to know why? I had the courage to ask questions, but was not convinced by the answers given by my grandfather. After finishing my high school, I taught the same low class playmates how to read and write, hugged them and informed them that we all were equals and need to be treated with respect and dignity. And my grandfather could not go against my resolve.

 

I was welcomed by Lady Liberty with open arms without looking at my race or color of the skin on my arrival to the United States. At the same time I experienced some thing more demeaning when a white lady, my neighbor in a small town in Georgia treated me badly because of the color of my skin. I took a pledge then that I would fight against discrimination and preceded on my action plan. I formed different cultural and religious organizations to educate and create awareness in the mainstream of our origin and values that we brought to share with fellow Americans. 


All people deserve my compassion and consideration irrespective of their caste, creed or color. One time a merchant nary ship docked away from shore due to mechanical breakdown. I was informed that a considerable number of Muslim crew were on board" The next day was their biggest religious day of Id-ul Fitr. Even though I do not subscribe to Islam and practice Sikhism, I asked my American Muslim friends to join hands to bring the crew from the ship ashore facilitating them to celebrate Id and offer their prayers with their people. We succeeded in our mission and the entire congregation was so thankful. 


I organized a multicultural and interfaith candle light vigil with the help of Filipino community in somber commemoration of 9/11/2001. The same year with the help of my neighbors, I lit a Christmas tree to honor the children who lost their parents in terrorist attacks. We commended police officers, fire fighters and employees from the postal services on this event. 


Officer Gilbert from Norfolk police force lost his life on the line of duty. On this occasion I invited police representatives from all the cities of Hampton Roads to a Sikh Temple to recognize their services and honored Officer Gilbert posthumously with a plaque, "Fallen, but not forgotten". 


In cooperation with B. B & T Bank, I opened a donation account in the name of Innayat Ahmadzai, an Afghan truck driver who saved eight American soldiers while losing both of his legs. The U.S. government brought him to the U.S. and after he was treated, abandoned him. At present I am working with other agencies to legalize his status to lead a dignified life in the country for which he sacrificed his limbs.

In the month of June Florida School Board signed a $ 50 Million contract to exclusively sell carbonated drinks in the schools. The research is evident that the consumption of carbonated drinks might expose the students to such problems as obesity, diabetes, and severe dental decay. Once again I have raised my voice against awarding such exclusive contracts that encroaches upon the fundamental rights of the school age children to live a disease free life.


The struggle to secure ones rights remains constant, a sure pathway to live life abundantly with liberty, freedom, and dignity. I am humbled and feel honored to be chosen to serve on Virginia Human Rights Council, and become an effective member to serve the term of my appointment.