Sikh Spotting! Russia Today just posted a neat piece on Sikhs, featuring the SALDEF leadership. Go Jasjit and Rajdeep!
I will say that news pieces like this have been produced repeatedly post-9/11. The one about Sikhs at a Brown’s game comes to mind. So on one hand, you can say that things aren’t changing 8 years later, that things are pretty much the same — perhaps Sikhs will always face this issue.
But, in the last week, I’ve been at 2 different, major business meetings, and at both meetings someone approached me and said, “Hey, are you a Sikh?” Both times, I said, “Well yes I am, thanks for noticing.” So I think all the tireless efforts of people that work at organizations like SALDEF and Sikh Coalition, the parents who want to educate schools instead of cut their kids’ hair, the movies, videos, blog posts, tweets, and interfaith gatherings are making a difference.
Sikh Spotting! Here’s an excellent video by whitehouse.gov of the President’s Diwali functions, marking the re-engagement of Asian and Pacific Islanders. You’ll notice friend of Sikh Swim Jasjit Singh, the new executive director (I think) of SALDEF, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, sitting in the front row. You see him clearly when Obama walks in, just forward past the Penn Masala performance (random!) to about 5:09. Go Jasjit! I do see another blue turban in the audience — and I think that may the ever present and active Rajwant Singh of SCORE. Congrats to both of them, way to represent at this event!
So President Obama, in his ‘Diwali Message’ spoke about the significance of Diwali for different faiths, and noted, “let us make a habit of empathy and reach out to those most in need.” With regard to Guru Hargobind, he says, at 0:56, “In Sikhism, Diwali is a celebration of freedom for Guru Hargobind, the religion’s sixth Guru.”
Thanks for the shoutout President Obama! So Obama knows about Sikhs — and he even knows why we celebrate Bandi Chor Diwas. Do you?