Bakersfield, California (September 30, 2015) Over 70 Sikh Men, women and youth gathered in Bakersfield, California, gave a thumping endorsement to a national media initiative. They had gathered at the Taj Restaurant to hear the National Sikh Campaign’s plan to create awareness about Sikhs and Sikhism in American media and society. The fundraising gathering was organized by the Sikh Riders of America, a group of 15-20 young Sikh men who, on a regular basis, participate in many humanitarian activities helping veterans and wounded American soldiers throughout California. National Sikh Campaign has devised a national strategy engaging President Obama’s media team to present the an accurate view of Sikhism in the national media.
This dinner meeting raised $11,500 for the National Sikh Campaign. It was attended by many representatives of the local gurdwaras in Bakersfield and other prominent personalities of the area. Many attendees proposed a bigger gathering in the future to garner support from the wider community. NSC had also raised over $80,000 in Los Angeles recently.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, Co-Founder of the National Sikh Campaign and the Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, was the key speaker, who presented the strategic plan of this Sikh awareness campaign. The slide show presentation of NSC gave detailed information about the roadmap and resources needed to launch this media exposure of Sikhs at the national level.
Dr. Singh answered questions that people had about the plan and its execution. Overall people responded positively and were eager to support this endeavor. He thanked the organizers and all the attendees for their attentiveness in listening and taking interest in knowing more details of the strategic plan.
Dr. Singh said, “Our community has faced many problems since 9/11 and it is high time that we change the narrative and adopt a proactive approach to tackle the menace of hate crimes. This task belongs to all of the members of the community. We must make sure that the roots of the community in America are strengthened by media exposure. This will provide a platform for many youngsters to shine nationally. This is an urgent need of all of us.”
Members of the Sikh Riders group appealed to community members to support the plan of the NSC. Dr. Sarabjit Singh Chhabra said,”This is the time that we participate in this campaign by keeping in mind that this will not only help us all but it will be tremendously helpful to our children in the future.”
Dr. Manbir Singh, a long time resident of Bakersfield and well-respected community activist, extended his support and said, “I am convinced after listening to this entire strategy that this is the way our community needs to approach to tackle the widespread ignorance about Sikhism and Sikh Identity. We all need to pool our resources to support this national agenda for the community.”
Jaspal Singh Lalli, Secretary of Guru Angad Gurdwara, said “All of us, especially the Gurdwaras, should lead in supporting this effort to educate Americans about the Sikh identity. This is absolutely necessary for our community to have positive exposure nationwide. That is the primary role of the Gurdwaras.