RASHID ALARMELI WRITES — This picture was taken at a protest. It was not a school protest, but the children were photographed as a way to show that inequalities in India hurt people of all ages.
The protest took place at Jesse Brewer Jr. Park, in downtown LA, February 22. The majority of Indians gathered there consider themselves one family fighting for the same cause: to end religious discrimination. In particular, they oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed in December 2019, which offered Indian citizenship to immigrants (who came before the year 2014), from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and who were of all religions—except Muslim. This religious exclusion, they say, is totally inhumane, and “the people trying to enforce them are the same people that want the muslims out of the country.” The park protesters wanted to show “unity” and “awareness” of harsh conditions in India that have reached a global scale, which they feel Indians everywhere should talk about.
One of the main reasons for protesting in LA: “The city is known for its openness to immigrants of other ethnicities,” said one protest organizer. “They [people in Los Angeles] know the struggles brown people face and [we want to] show them that we are no different.” Another protester said, ““India belongs to everybody, and no one should be left out.”
America has influence all over the world. Protesters say that India, unlike other countries, does not honor its history.. A prime example is the nonviolent protests led by Gandhi. Yet in the United States, the Reverend Martin Luther King is honored, and so is Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The protestors know that it will take a long time to make change in India, but they want to show that religion should not be used to divide others, and that in America, unlike in India, they can protest without fear.