Goodreads ~ In October 2017, Jagmeet Singh was elected as the first visible minority to lead a major federal political party in Canada. The historic milestone was celebrated across the nation.
About a month earlier, in the lead up to his election, Jagmeet held community meet-and-greets across Canada. At one such event, a disruptive heckler in the crowd hurled accusations at him. Jagmeet responded by calmly calling for all Canadians to act with “love and courage” in the face of hate. That response immediately went viral and people across the country began asking, “Who is Jagmeet Singh? And why ‘love and courage’?”
This personal and heartfelt memoir is Jagmeet’s answer to that question. In it, we are invited to walk with him through childhood to adulthood as he learns powerful, moving, and sometimes traumatic lessons about hardship, addiction, and the impact of not belonging. We meet his strong family, including his mother, who teaches him that “we are all one; we are all connected,” a valuable lesson that has shaped who he is today.
This story is not a political memoir. This is a story of family, love, and courage, and how strengthening the connection between us all is the way to building a better world.
I am probably the least political person ever. I don't follow politics, I don't care about politics, and I don't align myself with one political party. When I vote, it is for how I feel about my local representatives and whether I think they are a good person, rather than the party they are affiliated with.
I've only been aware of Jagmeet Singh the last couple of years ... probably since he was in the race to become the leader of the NDP party. He seems like a nice fella and I thought his bio would be interesting.
Jagmeet was born 40 years ago in Scarborough, ON. His parents were struggling immigrants so he was sent to India to live with his grandparents for a year or so. Jagmeet's father was a doctor in India and had to go through many hoops to be able to practice in Canada. Once that happened, he accepted a position in Newfoundland and the family (his parents had two more children there) spent some years there until finally settling in Windsor, ON.
Jagmeet's father became an alcoholic and the family spent many stressful years living with his father's drunken rages. Despite being in and out of rehab over the years, his father eventually wasn't allowed to practice medicine, which didn't help his mental state, and his family distanced themselves from him. As the oldest, Jagmeet felt it was his duty to take care of his family, emotionally and financially, despite still being a university student. The family went from being well-to-do to losing everything.
Jagmeet became a lawyer and offered free legal rights seminars across Ontario and provided pro bono legal counsel for people and community organizations in need. His younger brother convinced him to enter politics so he could help more people in his riding, the province and eventually the country.
I enjoyed this book and though I obviously don't know him personally, I like Jagmeet as a person from what I read. It confirmed what I thought ... that he seems like a nice fella. As an Indian, he has experienced racism and doesn't want what happened to him (being called names, getting into fights, etc.) to happen to others.
I liked the writing style and appreciated his honesty. I like that it wasn't about politics ... it was about him personally and his family, all he went through and how it has affected who he is today. I like too that I learned about what being Sikh is but he wasn't preachy about it.