On the Fourth of July, Sikhs in Fresno came together to host the California city’s annual minor league baseball game and fireworks show to create awareness about their religion and demonstrate their love for America.
“The biggest thing with the Sikh community is that they don’t fit in well with the current community right now,” says 19-year-old Ajeet Singh. “Everyone right now is still trying to learn how to fit in, and I think baseball is fitting in with the rest of the American community.”
Despite Sikhism being the world’s fifth-largest religion, over 60 percent of Americans have little or no idea who Sikhs are, or what their religion stands for. Furthermore, since 9/11, Sikhs in the U.S. have been frequent targets of both anti-Sikh and misdirected anti-Muslim hate, due to their skin color, turbans, and facial hair.
“Being looked down upon [because of] the way you look — that makes me feel less American,” says Singh. “America is all about diversity and distinction and being different… not just being a part of something because you look like them.”
This segment originally aired July 5, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.