On the occasion of Juneteenth, eminent Indian-American philanthropist and entrepreneur Gurinder Singh Khalsa has announced to donate face masks and protective shields worth USD 1 million to peaceful demonstrators across the US seeking protection from police brutality and demanding police reform after the death of African-American George Floyd.
Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the US.
Indiana-based Khalsa, a recipient of the prestigious Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award, also said that we need to portray the true picture of America if we want to replace hate and violence with love and compassion.
Khalsa, who is also the founder of SikhsPAC, a nonpartisan political action committee, said that his USD 1 million worth donation of face masks and protective shields to the protestors nationwide is a small token of contribution to those who are seeking justice and end to the police brutality, reflected in the recent gruesome murder of 46-year-old Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
Khalsa recently started Cleanxa, a personal protection equipment manufacturer and distributor, which would be used to distribute reusable, rewash able, medical grade filtered face masks and protective shields to protestors either individually or in bulk through non-profit bodies.
Noting that he took this decision to commemorate Juneteenth to support national movement seeking police reforms, Khalsa requests every American to join this movement by following the path of peaceful protest shown by leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi.
"Going forward if we want to replace hate and violence with love and compassion, we need to portray the true picture of American history. This is the most important part of American history, which is not being taught in schools. For the better future of America, we need to learn our lessons from history, however bitter it might be," he said.
Observing that he was inspired by two movies that he recently watched "Just Mercy" and "13th" and the series "Hell on Wheels", Khalsa said that people of this great country still have a long way to go to achieve the goals of equality and equity set up by its founding fathers.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, widespread protests have been taking place for weeks across the US following the death of Floyd in Minneapolis while he was in police custody. Protesters have sparred with police for weeks.
The US continues to remain the worst-hit country from the novel coronavirus with 2,191,052 cases and 118,434 deaths.
"SikhsPAC has always and will always stand with the Black community. SikhsPAC is making these donations as a way to advocate for police reform and justice for Black individuals in the United States. Along with this, SikhsPAC would like these donations to reflect their support for making Juneteenth a national holiday," Khalsa said.
"In this country, the atrocities against Black individuals are not covered enough within the history lessons taught to our children in schools," he rued.
"Putting a blanket over the history of systematic racism in our country is one of the most harmful things we can do the new generations moving forward will be much more passionate, caring, and understanding towards their Black community members if they are taught the real, tough history," Khalsa said.