Dear Supporter Ji,
Last week, the Governor of Wisconsin visited the Oak Creek sangat at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin to deliver the first-ever statewide proclamation declaring April Sikh Awareness & Appreciation Month. Gov. Tony Evers chose the Oak Creek gurdwara to honor and remember the victims, including my father-in-law, when six of our own were killed by a gunman with neo-Nazi ties on August 5, 2012.
Click here to watch Gov. Evers addressing the sangat at the event.
Proclamations and resolutions are important and easy ways for Sikh communities to engage local political leaders and raise Sikh awareness across both political aisles. In fact, in 2019, more states passed Sikh Awareness & Appreciation Month resolutions than ever before.
For our Sikh Wisconsin community, this proclamation was important because it was the first time that a sitting governor had formally recognized the Sikh community’s contributions in our state. His message was simple: diversity remains our nation’s greatest strength, but to hear that in the same place where tragedy struck was a powerful moment that I will always remember.
This grassroots effort was directly supported by the Sikh Coalition. They worked with local Sikh community leaders to help secure the proclamation and then facilitate the visit by the governor to the Oak Creek gurdwara. Everything, including media outreach and support, was handled by their team and helped further raise educational awareness so that we could focus on what truly matters: the community.
Click to read the Associated Press story about the event in the New York Times or watch local television coverage.
This year, Wisconsin joined Colorado, Utah, Washington and Connecticut in passing first-time resolutions. These states joined others that have previously issued proclamations like California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Additionally, 33 local proclamations and resolutions were passed, including first-time recognitions in Salt Lake City, UT; Lexington, KY; Olathe, KS; and more. Many of these successful initiatives were supported by the Sikh Coalition, putting Sikh community leaders in direct touch with their elected officials on both sides of the political aisle. Better yet? Nearly four million Americans were wished a “Happy Vaisakhi” by their own elected officials through social media posts that the Sikh Coalition worked to facilitate in time for April 14th.
We are thankful that the state of Wisconsin recognized the Sikh community in April and for the ongoing support of community-based organizations like the Sikh Coalition.
Jaspreet Kaur Kaleka
Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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