“What images do you see when you hear the word terrorist? Stop hesitating, you know what you see. You see someone with brown skin, right? Someone with a scruffy beard, or a woman who is wearing a hijab. Some kind of an ‘unnatural’ head piece. That is a terrorist to you, to humanity.” I took a deep breath in between my muffled sniffles. “Your honor, this man killed my brother, and do you want to know why? Because of his turban! His stature! His very identity! He killed Jasmeet Param Kaur, my best friend and companion, right in front of me! And yet here we are, here I am, presenting to a Grand Jury, to prove that that sick man, William Burfield, killed Jasmeet.” The silence of the massive courtroom echoed through my mind. The jury stared at me waiting for me to prove something, without a clue in the world. “So this is where we have ended up. Where even though someone kills a fifteen year old boy solely because he was brown, the government sides with the killer. Why? Because he claims, ‘the boy was threatening him?’My brother committed no mistakes while he was alive, he only made one. His mistake was being brown in this whitewashed world of ours!” Tears poured down my cheeks, burning through my skin.
My name is Simran Shaila Kaur. I was born and raised in Queens, New York. We live in a rocky neighborhood, but hey, it’s home. I have a younger brother, Jasmeet Param Kaur. He is fifteen and a Principal’s Honor Roll student. He is my best friend, my rock. Wherever I go, he goes. There is no separating us. We should have gone to High School down the street on Queens Boulevard, but Daddy said no. That is where all the lost dreams are, so we go to school in Upper East Manhattan. We are the only two kids who have an ounce of melanin, and dignity, in that school, but whatever, it’s my senior year so I’m almost out of here. When we are in Queens, our names are Simran and Jasmeet Kaur. We say our names with our Punjabi pride and power, the names our mom gave to us. Simran, remembering upon God’s name. Jasmeet, good intentions. But when we are in Manhattan roaming with the elite, we are Sam and Reign. We hide under our fear of harm. I would say our lives were pretty normal and going well for us, until November 9, 2016.
The day Donald J. Trump was elected to the White House, America fell into chaos. Massive red flags with blue crosses on them flailed in the American wind. Threats were shouted at anyone with color, and segregation began to occur. In Manhattan, many of our friends had to hide our friendship from their parents because their parents were topclass businessmen, which meant automatic friendship with the soontobe president. For the first time, I saw fear in my brother’s eyes. A thin sheet of water covered his chocolate eyes at the sight of America. But he pushed through.