In this weeks's 5X Press Roundup, we give you a quick break down of 5 trending stories that you may have missed this week, to highlight stories that may have slipped under your radar. Don't worry, we got you covered! Join the conversation on socials, and head to 5XFest.com/5XPress to read the rest of this week's stories -- trust us, you don't want to miss it.
On July 18, the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara held special prayers for the deceased children belonging to the indigenous community, whose unmarked graves were discovered at Residential School sites in B.C. The Sikh community extended its support to the Indigenous community, and one of the speakers at the prayers, Gurmeet Singh Toor noted that only a minority or an oppressed community can understand the pain of another oppressed group of people. Indigenous educator Jennifer Sherif and antiracism educator Annie Ohana also spoke at the gathering. The Sikh Motorcycle Club also organized a memorial and drove from the Lower Mainland to Kamloops as an act of solidarity. Georgia Strait journalist Gurpreet Singh reports that in a heartwarming gesture from one community to another, Jackie Andrew, a First Nations woman made special vests for the legendary Sikh Motorcycle Club. The beige-coloured garment bore two badges—”one with the club’s own and the other with an Indigenous circle of life combining four colours representing different races.”
According to Simran Dhunna on Twitter, a number of workers collectively organized in person and online to protest against wage theft impacting an international student, after Gagandeep Singh, a young worker on his work permit, was not paid any money by his employer for the 189 hours that he worked for him.The Naujawan Support Network, which is organized young Punjabi workers in support of Gagandeep Singh, protested in front of Buta Singh’s house, demanding the $5552.82, that Buta owed Gagandeep for his work as a truck driver for his company “FlowBoy.” The motor industry employing young Punjabi workers is notorious for its rampant wage theft and exploitation of these young workers, and now The Naujawan Support Network is working towards highlighting exploitation of International students, a problem that poses a huge threat to the unity of the South Asian community.
In February, HBO Max announced that they are in the process of developing an animated series titled “Velma” that would dive deep into the origins of the intelligent character from the Scooby-Doo series. It was announced that Mindy Kaling was roped in to be the executive producer of the show and to voice Velma’s character. When a month ago, it was announced that Velma would be reimagined as South Asian, it made some fans in particular extremely unhappy. Disappointed fans tweeted out criticism such as “Not the classic Velma that I’m always thinking about,” and “So not Velma!” after the announcement. Despite the small percentage of extremely vocal unhappy fans, Kaling recently responded, with her thoughts on playing the character. “She (Velma) is such a great character. She's so smart. And I just couldn't understand how people couldn't imagine a really smart, nerdy girl with terrible eyesight, and who loved to solve mysteries, could be Indian,” said Kaling. “Like, there are Indian nerds. It shouldn't be a surprise to people.” Kaling playing Velma, could be a significant move in the direction of a broader South Asian representation in Hollywood. However, the backlash does raise questions about our ability as an audience to accept the reimagining of iconic characters as people of colour, the failure of which denotes how deep our mindset is still stuck with white supremacy.
On the 20th of July, daughter of former Pakistani diplomat Shaukat Mukadam, Noor Mukadam was found murdered mercilessly at a house in the upscale area of Sector F-7/4 in Islamabad, and its brutality shook the world to its core. Noor was beheaded by her former acquaintance Zahir Jaffer, who allegedly tried to escape to the United States after the murder, but was later arrested. Following the horrific incident, the hashtag #justiceForNoorMukadam started trending on social media, as individuals all around the globe demanded justice for the victim, and wanted to highlight a pattern of violence against women. Noor’s muder brought into spotlight the failure of Pakistan to protect women from violent crimes. “On Sunday, a man burned his wife to death in the southern Sindh province, while another man shot dead his wife, his aunt and two underage daughters in Shikarpur city on the same day. A 30-year-old woman who was raped and stabbed on Saturday in Rawalpindi city succumbed to her injuries on Sunday. On July 18, a woman was tortured to death by her husband in Sindh. Last month, a man killed two women, including his former wife, in the name of "honor" in the northwestern city of Peshawar.” A series of violent crimes against women that took place in Pakistan, all in the same month, brought forward major conversations and discussions regarding femicide in Pakistan and the toxic misogyny and violence that is enabled to take place within South Asian culture
At the Olympics, the most decorated gymnast of all time, Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s team all round finals after a shaky vault performance. The incident was later followed by her withdrawal from the women’s individual all round finals, as Biles said she took the step in order to honour her mental health. What could be seen as a monumental moment of vulnerability and bravery by a legendary athlete, to prioritize her health over all else, was criticized by many on social media. TV personality Piers Morgan published an op-ed article for the Daily Mail titled "Sorry Simone Biles, but there's nothing heroic or brave about quitting because you're not having 'fun' — you let down your team-mates, your fans and your country." The American gymnast was mostly applauded for putting her mental health first, that too having done so being a Black woman athlete. The incident sparked wide conversations regarding mental health issues in sports, and how the idea of pushing an athlete till they have reached their breaking point is broadly glorified, with Morgan’s reaction as an example of that. Decorated athlete Michael Phelps talked about how Biles’ anguish “broke his heart” and commented “The easiest way for me to say this is athletes, and Olympic athletes in general ... we need someone who we can trust, somebody that can let us be ourselves and listen. Allow us to become vulnerable. Somebody who's not going to try to fix us.”
That's it for this week's roundup! Don't forget to join the conversation on socials and tell us what you think!
About the author: Roshni is a self-proclaimed Comedy Queen who specializes in laughing at her own jokes. Her hobbies include making people smile, watching movies and analysing them, reading books, practicing yoga (occasionally), hogging on well-cooked biryani and scrolling through dog videos and memes on Instagram. Her love for writing stems from her love for art in general, which is fuelled by her background in theatre. Catch on her instagram at @roshni_rakshit daily, where she regularly shares her experience with movies and occasionally offends people with her political sense of humour.