May 2, 2019 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Kent, WA: Thousands of people across Washington will come together for the 27th annual Khalsa Day Celebration and Parade on Saturday, May 4th. The day-long event will feature langar (free community kitchen), interfaith service projects, Sikh martial arts demonstrations, the singing of sacred hymns and a parade. People will gather at the accesso ShoWare Center starting at 10 a.m. PDT, and the parade will start at 3 p.m. PDT.
“This spring, Sikhs worldwide are commemorating Vaisakhi, one of the most historically significant days of the year,” said Kent City Council member, Satwinder Kaur. “It’s remarkable for Washingtonians of all ages to come together and recognize a community that has made significant contributions to the state for over a century.”
Sikh community leaders continue to make strides in increasing Sikh awareness with three Washington cities and counties issuing proclamations honoring the contributions of Sikh Americans over the last month. This also includes a statewide resolution that was issued on April 10th making April Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.
In Washington, the efforts to raise Sikh awareness remain critical after recent incidents targeting the state’s Sikh community. In 2017, a gunman shot and injured a Sikh man in his own driveway while telling him, “go back to your own country.” Just last year, the FBI’s annual hate crime report indicated hate crimes rising nationally in 2017 for the third consecutive year – with a 243% increase in anti-Sikh hate crimes since the 2016 report.
In addition to Sikh officials and community leaders from across the state, non-Sikh political leaders will also participate in the event, including U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, Washington Senator Mona Das, Seattle City Councilmembers Lorena González and Kshama Sawant, Kent City Council President Bill Boyce, and Kent City Councilmembers Brenda Fincher, Marli Larimer and Satwinder Kaur.
“For over 100 years, Sikh American contributions to Washington state have only made our community stronger,” said U.S. Congressman Adam Smith. “The annual Khalsa Day Celebration and Parade continues to be a great opportunity to recognize Washington’s Sikh community, and I look forward to celebrating with my Sikh friends, neighbors and colleagues on Saturday.”