Media Network Calls a Sikh a “Terrorist” Instead of “Tourist”

Last Wednesday, I was vacationing in Chicago with my family when we were filmed for a local television segment on ABC 7 News while at the Taste of Chicago.


When the segment aired later that evening, the closed caption that appeared with the story read “terrorist” instead of “tourist.” Although I didn’t see the story, thousands across Chicago did. Some of them even shared the clip on social media. I couldn’t bear the thought of telling my young children what happened because I didn’t want to ruin our vacation.

People were confused, upset and disturbed. That’s when the Sikh Coalition intervened. Within minutes, the Sikh Coalition was in high-level discussions with the directors at ABC News , figuring out why this horrible mistake happened and how it could be fixed. The next day, ABC 7 News and the caption transcription firm apologized for their mistake, and vowed to work with the Sikh Coalition to air a positive story about the Sikh American community in Chicago in the coming weeks.

To understand how this mistake happened, read the apologies from ABC News and the transcription service.

This immediate and remarkable result wasn’t accidental. The Sikh Coalition knew exactly who to contact at ABC 7 News because they had previously worked with the station and built a reputation of credibility and respect. The network knew that if they didn’t fix the problem, they would be held accountable.

My family and I are very grateful for this valuable work and the work that organizations like the Sikh Coalition do every day to positively educate Americans about the Sikh faith, community and culture. They analyzed the problem, fixed it and turned it into an opportunity for positive exposure about the Sikh community. They do this work not just in Chicago, but across the country.

Please consider making a donation to the Sikh Coalition today, so they can continue to do amazing and impactful work on behalf of all of us:

Now when I tell my children what happened, I can share how proud we are to be Sikh and to have an organization like the Sikh Coalition fighting for our rights. I look forward to showing my children the upcoming ABC 7 news story about the Sikh community.

Chardi Kala!

Manpreet Bal

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