Sikh entrepreneur to launch ‘Be Proud’ movement to fight hate

By Atul Sethi Source: Times of India

The recent shooting of Sikhs at the gurdwara in Wisconsin has prompted a US-based internet entrepreneur of Indian origin to launch an online campaign aimed at ending hate crimes. Gurbaksh Chahal, a 30-year-old multi-millionaire serial entrepreneur, has initiated the ‘Be Proud’ movement which he says is not just about raising awareness of Sikhs, but also sending out a broader message. “It’s about the unifying truth that we are all a little different and we should be proud of what makes us unique,” he says.

The movement will kick off with a TV and social media campaign in mid-September. Deepak Chopra, Ben Kingsley, Lisa Ray, Jay Sean and Gurinder Chadha are among the celebrities that Chahal has lined up for supporting the cause, which he says “has the simple yet challenging mission of eliminating hate”.

His ambition may seem lofty, but Chahal says doing something like this was always been at the back of his mind. “I experienced immense racism while growing up as a turbaned kid who was taunted for being different. That’s why the incident in Wisconsin struck a nerve,” he says. Although he hastens to add that the movement – for which he has pledged a million dollars — is not just for the Sikhs. “The goal of this campaign is to remind everyone that we’re all humans first. Not just an individual group of silos. There should be no difference between being a Sikh, Muslim, or Christian. You should be able to practice whatever faith you believe, and appear however you want. That’s our ultimate aim.”

Chahal’s story, incidentally, is one of the great American dream coming true. His parents migrated to the US when he was very young. At the age of 16, he started his first company, Click Agents, which he sold 18 months later for $40 million. His second company, Blue Lithium, was acquired by Yahoo in 2007 for $300 million in cash. In September 2009, he launched RadiumOne, an advertising platform focused on social advertising across the open-web, which, according to some analysts is currently valued at almost $500 million.

By Atul Sethi Source: Times of India