Dover, US: To celebrate Sikh festival Vaisakhi (Khalsa Creation Day), the US State of Delaware has declared April as the ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.
Delaware Governor John Carney in a proclamation declaring April as “Sikh Awareness Month” said the community has earned respect and appreciation through exceptional service to the community.
Throughout this month, the public will be educated on what Sikhism truly is and what it stands for.
The State Assembly—House of Representatives and Senate—simultaneously passed unanimous resolutions proclaiming April as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’.
The move gains significance because Delaware has a small Sikh population.
Several legislators sported turbans during the unanimous passage of the Sikh legislation in the Delaware House of Representatives.
“Wearing this turban shows that we are also part of America. Because of this resolution, for the second consecutive month, the identity and awareness about the Sikh community has increased in the state,” local Sikh leader Charanjeet Singh Minhas.
However, Minhas said, there was still a lack of awareness about Sikhism among people.
Noting that the Sikh community in America continues to peacefully overcome attacks on its members, as well as attacks on Sikh identity and practices; the Delaware House and Senate said that the current US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was raised as a Sikh and in New Jersey, Gurbir Grewall became the first Sikh Attorney-General in the US.
“Observance of “Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month” raises awareness of the contributions of Sikhs in Delaware to the economy and wider community,” it read.
The resolution said that the State of Delaware stood with the Sikh community in denouncing hate crimes directed towards any individual on account of their religious beliefs.
It also said that since September 11, 2001, Sikhs are often mistaken for identity based upon their appearance and clothing.
“Since September 11, 2001, nationally, Sikhs have been subject to school harassment, employment discrimination, and fatal shootings,” the resolution said.