A proud Texan of Indian descent talks about the state’s changing perception and why she cares deeply for amending gun laws
For healthcare IT professional and professional actor Olivia Malhotra, Houston has been the only home she has ever known. A first generation, Indian-American, Malhotra was brought up in Houston.
She arrived with her parents in America back in 1999 and the family made Houston their forever home. Growing up in Houston, Malhotra calls herself a proud Texan who loves the deep history, culture and vibes of her state.
Read: Gun Violence is not unique to Texas. It’s a national issue (May 11, 2023)
However, with Texas being in news off-late for a spate of gun related violence as well as anti-immigrant incidents, as a person of color she feels the pain first hand.
Olivia, who grew up feeling Houston as her safe haven, visiting the museum district and NASA and trying out the humongous diversity of restaurants in the city, says the past few months have been trying.
Texas just saw a weekend of deadly violence. According to statistics, violence is on the rise in the state and 2023 alone has seen more gun violence.
Here she talks to the American Bazaar about her beloved state and how it feels to hear the sentiment especially among desis that Texas may fast be becoming an unsafe place to raise families.
Read: Desis wonder if Texas is still an immigrant magnet (May 10, 2023)
She says, “It’s heartbreaking to keep hearing about people taking the lives of others. I understand the right to bear arms for self-defense and protection but with that right comes a social responsibility to ensure that we do not misuse that right. I am at a loss of words to describe how my heart feels and I cannot even imagine the pain that the family members of martyred souls are living with.
“Not too long ago, I watched my favorite Barnes and Nobles in Houston turn into a giant gun store and that change instilled a fear in me that prevents me from stepping outside of my house unless I truly have to. (Collector’s Firearms, a museum and gun store moved into the old Barnes and Noble location in Westheimer in Houston in 2021)
“We constantly live in a culture of fear and doubt rather than love and compassion. I hope that we can promote mental health awareness and encourage talking about issues that may be bothering people so that no one is pushed to the edge to take away God’s greatest gift from themselves or from anyone else.”
Read: Gun Violence in the United States: Truth and Facts (February 16, 2023)
On the gun laws in the state, Malhotra says, “I also hope that there is a policy change to have structural regulations around access to ammunition and mandatory education so that gun violence is minimized. May God give strength to those who are suffering and hope that better sense prevails and we leave the world as a better place for our future generations.”