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The Sikh Coalition News
February 25, 2022
  • Planning Ahead for Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month

    February 25, 2022 (Washington, DC) -- As we begin planning to celebrate Vaisakhi next month, the Sikh Coalition wants to ensure that sangats across the United States are equipped with the tools they need to pass Sikh awareness resolutions or proclamations in school districts, city councils, and state governments.

    In the month of April, sangats have previously been able to use Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month (SAAM) as a way to engage their communities, including by delivering Sikh awareness presentations, sharing anti-bullying resources in schools, and facilitating important conversations with political leaders. SAAM proclamations serve to increase understanding between Sikhs and our non-Sikh neighbors at the local level. Since many state, county, and local governments have embraced virtual meetings, requesting and obtaining a Sikh awareness recognition is easier than ever before.

    The Sikh Coalition is available to help you make SAAM a reality in your community, even if that means celebrating Vaisakhi at home or virtually! We have created a step-by-step guide on how you can ask your elected officials to honor and celebrate the Sikh community. Follow these three easy steps to help your local government proclaim April as SAAM:

    Step 1: Decide which government official you want to request a recognition from and look up their contact information at www.usa.gov/elected-officials. You can request a proclamation from your Governor, state legislature, city or county council, and/or school board. Please note that some government websites have a  request form, where you can ask for a SAAM recognition using the draft  language in this toolkit. If you are unsure of how to submit a request, it is best to contact that office directly, via phone or email.

    Step 2: Introduce yourself and share a little more information about the local Sikh community with the government official’s office (e.g. when the first gurdwara was established in the area, notable news or seva in the sangat, etc.). Ask them to introduce a SAAM recognition to ensure that the broader community is aware of the Sikh American community and our positive contributions to the United States. 

    Step 3: Regularly follow-up with the office and keep the Sikh Coalition updated about the status of your request. You can email Sikh Coalition staff at community@sikhcoalition.org with questions or concerns.

    Asking for a proclamation or resolution well before April gives the best chance of success in getting an official Sikh awareness recognition. Many offices require that requests be submitted at least a month in advance, so we recommend requesting a proclamation as soon as possible.

    This year also marks the anniversaries of two devastating acts of violence against our community: the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, and the ten-year anniversary of the attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. A SAAM proclamation will also be instrumental in honoring those we lost, their families, and all those who were forever impacted by these tragedies, as well as an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of the Sikh American community.

    In the past, the Sikh Coalition has provided assistance to community members securing SAAM proclamations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Utah, and Washington. This work has been complimented by congressional recognitions as well as proclamations in cities nationwide.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
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