WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03) introduced a House Resolution to honor the Sikh American community and to wish them a joyous Vaisakhi.
The Vaisakhi festival is held every year in mid April. In addition to commemorating the creation of the Khalsa, a fellowship of devout Sikhs, in 1699, it is also a long established harvest festival held throughout the Punjab region of South Asia. Celebration of Vaisakhi includes performing “Seva” (selfless service), such as providing free food to others and volunteering for community service projects. The Sikh American community also honors the occasion with major parades throughout the United States.
“America’s founding ideals of freedom of worship, equality, and justice are reflected in the Sikh American community’s celebration of Vaisakhi. I am proud to represent one of the largest Sikh communities in the country. I have partnered with the community on many issues, including civil liberties, education, and business development. With this Resolution, I am saying thank you and wishing Sikhs across America and around the world a joyous Vaisakhi,” said Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Co-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus.
Garamendi, other legislators, and civil rights advocates recently welcomed the FBI’s inclusion of Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans in its hate crime tracking manual, a change they had pushed for. Garamendi’s Office is presenting the manual to police departments in his district.
“We are grateful to the resolution sponsors for highlighting the valuable contributions of the Sikh American community,” said Rajdeep Singh, Senior Director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition. “Sikhs are an integral part of the American fabric, and we invite our fellow Americans to learn more about their Sikh neighbors by visiting their local Gurdwaras and partnering with us on community service projects.”
“I’m pleased to co-sponsor this resolution recognizing one of the most important days in Sikh history. This resolution is a well-deserved tribute to the tremendous contributions the Sikh community make to our nation and it’s my honor to co-sponsor this resolution in my capacity as co-chair of the American-Sikh congressional caucus,” said Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07), Co-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus.
“Sikh Americans have made enormous contributions to the Central Valley and Vaisakhi presents us with a perfect reminder of their influence within our communities. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation recognizing one of the most important days in Sikh history and I look forward to celebrating with my friends back home in California,” said Congressman David G. Valadao (R-CA-21), Vice-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus.
“As a founder and Vice Chair of the first ever Congressional Sikh Caucus, it is always my honor to join the Sikh community in celebrating the birth of the Khalsa. I am proud to be a cosposonsor of this legislation which recognizes the significant contributions of the Sikh community in spreading tolerance and understanding. I will continue to work with my partners in the Sikh Caucus to preserve religious freedom and diversity, peace and unity, for all people in this country,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Vice-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus.
Congressman Garamendi is the lead sponsor of the Vaisakhi Resolution. It was cosponsored by Representatives Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Ami Bera (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Jim McDemott (D-WA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
Honoring the Sikh American community’s celebration of Vaisakhi
Whereas Sikhism is a religion founded in the Punjab region of South Asia over five centuries ago and introduced to the United States in the 19th century;
Whereas Sikhism is the fifth largest world religion with approximately 25 million adherents from diverse backgrounds throughout the world, including 500,000 adherents in the United States;
Whereas Sikhs in the United States pursue diverse professions and walks of life, making rich contributions to the economic vibrancy of the United States as farmers, engineers, doctors, scientists, and business owners;
Whereas Sikh Americans continue to make strides toward securing religious liberty as patriotic members of the United States Armed Forces;
Whereas Vaisakhi is one of the most religiously significant days in Sikh history, commemorating the creation of the Khalsa, a fellowship of devout Sikhs, by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699;
Whereas the Sikh religion is based on a belief in one God and the equality of all human beings; and
Whereas the celebration of Vaisakhi includes performing Seva (selfless service), such as providing free meals to all visitors to Sikh Gurdwaras (Houses of Worship): Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives wishes the Sikh American community a joyous Vaisakhi.