April is ‘Sikh awareness month’ in Illinois: Indian American Congressman

Washington, DC: Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has entered a statement into the Congressional record to recognize April as ‘Sikh appreciation and awareness month’ in his home state of Illinois. Underscoring the importance of the recognition, Krishanmoorthi said there has been a disturbing rise in hate crimes and violent acts perpetrated against the Sikh-American community. 

This recognition, he said, is timely, given the disturbing rise in hate crimes and violent acts perpetrated against Sikh-Americans, most recently on April 15 at a Fedex facility located in Indianapolis. The first followers of the Sikh religion emigrated to the US over 125 years ago, where they found work on farms located in California and in the lumber mills of Washington state, he said. Despite suffering persecution and discrimination, these patriotic Sikh-Americans persevered and found ways to participate in civic life, including service in the US Army, he added.

“In 1918, Sergeant Bhagat Singh Thind was the first serviceman in the history of the US Army allowed to wear a turban as part of his military uniform. Sikh Americans continued to proudly serve with distinction in the Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam Warand in our conflicts in Afghanistanand Iraq,” he said. In addition to military service, Sikh-Americans have made countless contributions to our common good, he said. “They include scientists like Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany, who is widely known as the ‘father of fiber optic technology’ and Dr. Gurtej Singh Sandhu, one of the world’s most prolific inventors. They include artists and musicians like Grammy nominee Snatam Kaur Khalsa, and activist and award-winning filmmaker Valarie Kaur,” he added. “They include entrepreneurs like Waris Ahluwalia, an actor, model, and businessman. And they include men and women called to public service like Dalip Singh Saund, who in 1957 became the first Asian-American, Indian-American and member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to serve in this House of Representatives,” he added. During this month of appreciation for Sikh-Americans, Krishnamoorthi said he wants to officially recognize the contributions of the more than 7,00,000 members of the United States Sikh community to business, the arts, science, medicine, literature and philosophy. “Additionally, I ask all Americans to take to heart the Sikh religion’s belief in the sanctity of each person, respect for freedom of religion, and creed that community service is the foundation for living a good life,” he said.

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