US-India Global Review

46 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JANUARY-MARCH 2018 Muslim hijabs, and African cornrows in the U.S. Army, though not yet in the Air Force or Navy. In a speech at an Association of U.S. Army (AUSA) event recently, four- star General Mark Milley, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, said the nation was built on an 'Idea' which says, "That all of the people, regardless of whether you are male or female; it does- n't matter if you are gay or straight or anything in between; it doesn't matter if you are black or white or Asian or Indian, or any other ethnic group; it doesn't mat- ter what your country of ori- gin, or the spelling of your last name; it does not matter if you are Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, or if you do not believe at all, it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor or common or famous. In this country- all Americans are created free and equal, and we will rise or fall based on our merit, and will be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin. That is the organizing princi- ple of the United States of America- and that is why we fight." Despite these fighting words, there continues to exist an "institutional dis- crimination" that makes diversity a difficult goal to achieve in the forces, Kalsi contends. He cites as an example his own brother, Dr. Ranjeet Singh Kalsi, who has been trying for two years to join the U.S. Air Force as a doctor, one who has topped his class in every way, and who has not been sent a formal rejection letter. Lt. Col. Kalsi recently launched an organization, the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA), which con- trary to its name, is not restricted to Sikhs, he says, but rather has the goal of improving diversity in the U.S. forces for all races and ethnicities. It will be launch- ing its website on Veterans Day Nov. 11. Ela Dutt | Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media