March 13, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Washington, United States(March 13, 2014): Sikh business and community leaders across the country gathered in Washington D.C. to form the National Sikh Campaign, an undertaking that will tackle the growing misperceptions of Sikhism since 9/11 and highlight the impact Sikh Americans have made in America. The primary mission of this National Sikh Campaign will be to increase awareness of the Sikh Religion and the positive contributions Sikh Americans make in this country.
“Sikhs in this country have had a tough time since 9/11. From hate crimes to a Wisconsin terrorist attack, our community has continued to be the target of unjust hate yet we have lacked the voice to change these perceptions and raise the profile of Sikhs in America,” said Gurwin Singh Ahuja, Executive Director of the National Sikh Campaign.
“Well, that is about to change. We are creating an organized movement to raise Sikh awareness by focusing on the positive contributions Sikhs make in this country. This campaign will highlight how Sikhs are a part of the American success story, illustrating the similarities Sikh values have with American values.”
The gathering of the Sikhs explored and deliberated on having a partnership with AKPD, the media firm that helped elect prominent leaders such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and President Barack Obama. Furthermore, AKPD was founded by David Axelrod, former top political advisor to President Obama, and stands as one of the most prominent and successful media firms in the nation.
“We hope to work with AKPD to help advertise our message across the nation in order to change the narrative of Sikhs in the U.S. – from victims of hate crimes to leaders in society. This is totally unprecedented and will require our whole community’s effort,” said Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE).
The goal of this campaign will be to reach out to various Gurdwaras, organizations and stakeholders within America and internationally to create the largest PR effort ever for Sikhism. The campaign plans to engage individuals across the U.S. while providing grassroots organizing throughout Sikh communities.
The meeting was hosted at the historical Willard InterContinental, across from the White House, and was facilitated by SCORE. It included presentations from AKPD and Sikh youth as well as Paul Monteiro, former Associate Director of Office of Public Liaison at the White House. Several attendees immediately became the initial charter members of this endeavor.
Neal Singh, Youth Coordinator of the National Sikh Campaign said, “The goal of this campaign is to organize Sikhs in a way that has never been done before and make a lasting impact that will give younger generations of Sikh Americans the ability to their lead lives without fear and believe that they can be a leader here.”
According to SCORE [t]he campaign is estimated to cost several million dollars and would require pooling together of community resources engaging all sections of the community.