I’m the daughter of second-generation Americans (SGAs). My four grandparents immigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century to escape desperate economic conditions and the grinding anti-Semitism they faced as Jews in Eastern Europe. Each settled in the Midwest United States and eventually in Omaha, Nebraska, where there was and remains a small but vibrant Jewish community.
TIO: As a second-generation American Muslim, raised in Chicago, with a doctorate from Oxford, you are an examplar of meeting the challenge of growing up in one culture and navigating the culture we share today. Your books unpack the complexities of ‘growing up Muslim in America’ beautifully, vividly. And today you relate to thousands of young people in American universities and colleges, coming into constant contact with second-generation religious minorities. Could you share the biggest challenges they face collectively?
Meji Singh did not grow up in the Sikh diaspora but in the religion’s homeland, India’s Punjab, in a family spiritually grounded in daily Sikh practice. But he has spent more than two-thirds of his life in the United States preoccupied with children and young adults, learning, and how to create mentally healthy communities. As a professor, consultant, spiritual teacher, organizer, faith and interfaith activist, he brings special gifts for what he calls behavioral consultation healing.
She looked the part of a fine arts major, with the gold spangle in her nostril, the streak of purple in her jet-black hair, and her bespoke clothing. Her diminutive form and high voice gave no hint of the feisty energy that would pour forth whenever she spoke up in the weekly meetings of the Student Interfaith Council at the University of Southern California. Born to Pakistani immigrant parents, she didn’t fit anybody’s stereotype of a Muslim woman.