Equality statement from BGS

By Tiffany Leong posted 06-04-2020 12:37

  
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A message from the BGS CEO

The protests in the United States over the past week are about expressing outrage for the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. They are about the killing of many more people before him in violence against black lives. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Michael Brown. Jamar Clark. And countless others.


Beta Gamma Sigma supports all who work for justice in honor of George Floyd and those lost before him due to racism.

We must stand up for each other. Empathy is not enough. We can read the articles and watch the news and try to understand, but it can’t begin to convey the feelings of people who are scared every day for their safety or the safety of their children, friends, and family. Many of us don’t know what that feels like. We’ve never had to think twice about living our lives and worrying we might be judged for the color of our skin or for who we are.

Let’s not think of racism as only about vicious attacks. Systemic racism means that we have systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them. It can result in lack of access to education, health care, food, housing, and employment. It also results in unequal treatment throughout the criminal justice system.

A protestor in New York was carrying a sign that said SILENCE IS VIOLENCE. It’s a remarkably powerful statement because it is easy to be silent on racial injustice if it’s not happening to us. But if we don’t speak up, if we are silent, black people die.

It’s uncomfortable to talk about if it’s not happening to us. Am I saying the right thing? Do I understand the deep roots of racism and the impact on education, social justice, housing, or economic reform? Will I offend a black person if I ask questions about racism or their own experiences? Wow, this is a lot to consider. I’m not sure I’m up for this. There are a lot of other people doing something about this; they don’t need me. I’m just one person.

See how easy it is to talk ourselves out of speaking up?

We have to accept the discomfort because if we don’t talk about it, racism will continue to grow beyond the horrific events that have already occurred. If we don’t talk about it, more black people will die.

Beta Gamma Sigma has a resource for our members to use if you want to be a part of the discussion. ConnectBGS is our private members-only forum that can be reached from the top right corner on the home page of our website. We encourage you to help and support each other. Be a force for good in the world.


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Christina Carosella

Chief Executive Officer

Beta Gamma Sigma







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06-04-2020 20:20

Hello!
I want to pen my thoughts and experience about racism. Racism exists in every society and in every country. Some have more others might have less but Racism exists in every part of the world. I traveled and lived in 4 continents before immigrating and settling here in the US. I experienced racism in every continent and every country that I lived in. Before immigrating here someone told me that if you want to live your American dream you need to master 2 things. 
1. Be focused on your dream and dream big. 
2. Develop a very thick skin so you are prepared to be treated differently because you will be and for all the wrong reasons. Train your mind and tongue to cut through racism using wit & knowledge. No matter how hard you try you will never be treated equally. Instill that in your blood and embrace it.

So for the last 20 plus years living here I have trained myself to ignore most biases and to overcome the hurt and pain follow the path of righteousness by forgiving and being generous to those who inflict pain. 
 
I developed a strategy a long time ago and hold it close to my heart; if you want to overcome prejudice there are 2 ways to do that.
1. Educating people through deeds as words are cheap.
2. Where there is hate sow the seeds of love and compassion.

Yes there is always pride that gets in the way and when it does you ask yourself what is most important to you? Then you go back to your dream and reenergize yourself by saying it is the price I have to pay to secure my American dream.

I am of Indian descent the plethora of snubs and ridicule I have faced all over the world is beyond most peoples imagination. Each time I faced prejudice most of the time I was prepared by knowing more than what accusers knew. 
 
For example one time I was accused of being a terrorist in a packed restaurant in Kentucky and this was 3 months after 911 happened. I was waiting on a customer who asked me why I bombed the twin towers to my face? He happened to insult me in front of 50 to 60 people and not one of them stood up to defend me and suddenly I was in the spotlight embarrassed and humiliated. So I asked my accuser "Why would I kill my own brothers and sisters in a country you and I both love so much?" And the whole room went silent. The next day the guy who insulted me came and apologized and blamed his behavior on liquor. He offered me money to buy his way out, I refused instead and I paid for a bottle of whiskey and gave it to him and told him the next time he sees someone like me in a restaurant ask that person how is America treating them? I can guarantee you that man will never forget the experience he had with me and I hope I killed him with kindness.

One time I had to stand up for a friend of mine who was a Sikh and he was called Osama by some frat brothers at a tailgate. So I went up to them and I am a small guy and these were 250 to 300 lbs line backers of a football team. It was intimidating to be surrounded by 8 of these huge guys and I was by myself. I asked them which one of them called my friend Osama? Nobody came forward so I assumed they all did. I told them that my friend's name is Bikram and although he may look like a bearded terrorist he is not. It is his religious obligation because he is Sikh that he not cut his hair and grow a beard and because I am Catholic it is his duty to protect me per his religion and if need be his religion would require him to give up his life to protect you guys as well. But since you did not know that; take this experience as an education so you know how to distinguish between a terrorist and a Guardian Angel. I left them with that.
 

I can narrate thousands of negative experiences similar to these and the one thing I never did was resort to violence and I always believe there is goodness in people no matter how tough they come across. There is a heart somewhere deep down that just needs to be jostled and the quickest path to that heart is through love and compassion.

If we want to eradicate Racism, Covid 19, Inequality and all the underlying diseases that plague societies across the world and here then the only way to overcome it is through education, non violence, love and compassion. 

It is an uphill challenge particularly in our nation when everything we do is driven by greed and as a society we embrace violence. We claim that we are One Nation Under God. It would be more apt to say we are One Nation Driven by Greed for Money. 

If we are to bring any constructive resolution to the gross inequalities in our society then we must conscientiously reflect back on our actions and words and see how they impact others. If we do this one American at a time starting now then I predict that my great grandkids will not have to undergo the inequalities I endured.
 
 
Peace be with you

santosh xavier