I came to the United States in 1967. Six months later I decided I should join the United States Navy and serve the country. If I live in this country, I need to serve the country. If I’m going to live here—if the country calls—I need to serve the country too. I served two years in the navy, active in Vietnam. During Desert Storm I was in the reserves and I would like to serve again.

Exactly a month before 9/11 I was in New York. I was in those buildings and I was in the top of the towers. It touched me more that I met those people and the people working there.

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I decided there was an opportunity for me to serve the country again as a security screener at SeaTac after 9/11. I was employed by ICTS, and I hoped when the jobs were federalized that I would be one of the ones selected to join the federal force. I had all the credentials, the security clearance and the education. I had my bachelors in arts from Washington State University in 1974.

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As a security screener for ICTS, a pilot told me I should be checked out. I asked him the reason, and he would not answer me. But I took it as because my looks. After 9/11, a person of my faith was shot in Arizona. He was killed at his service station because he wore a turban. Some of the Sikhs, they wear a turban. Some people don’t know the difference—to them, we all look like Osama bin Laden. It does affect your psyche that you may be the target of violence.

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I was not selected to be a federal employee as a security screener. I feel that the test and selection process were biased, and my origin, my color, and my age—all those things were against me. I was denied another chance to serve the country.

I have a feeling that certain groups were eliminated just because the government didn’t want to put them in a position that aggravates the public. The contract screeners were doing just as good of a job, if not better.

 

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That’s why I want to participate in the political process. I want to participate and I want to have my voice heard if I feel that something is wrong. That’s the freedom people come here for. I’m not afraid of the consequences, if there is any consequence. It’s my freedom. It’s my right to a voice, it’s my right to speak up and express my thoughts. If everybody shirks, then progress stops. I must do my part to make sure people behind me or after me, they don’t suffer the same things I suffer.

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