April 25, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (April 25, 2013): A bipartisan group of 28 influential lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have established the first Sikh-American Congressional Caucus to have the interests of the American Sikh community represented in the US Congress.
The Sikh Federation (UK) given its leading role in lobbying in the UK and setting up of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs in the UK in 2005 was specifically invited to the formal launch at Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday, of the first-ever Sikh-American Congressional Caucus.
It was announced at a press conference the caucus is to be co-chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu from the Democratic Party and David G. Valadao from the Republican Party. The caucus will focus not only on representing American Sikhs, but also on educating legislators and the general public about the issues facing Sikhs.
The launch was attended by eminent Sikh-American leaders and organisations from across the USA, the lawmakers also hosted a reception at Capitol Hill in the evening.
‘Sikhs are suffering because many people do not understand or are simply unfamiliar with their religion. The Sikh-American community continues to be disproportionally affected by school bullying and hate crimes. Events like the devastating tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin should never have taken place,’ Republican Congresswoman from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said in her remarks at a Capitol Hill news conference to announce the launch of the Sikh-American Caucus.
The immediate past Chairwoman of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Relations, Ros-Lehtinen, said the Sikh-American Caucus will raise awareness on the Sikh religion, while advocating for solutions to end bullying and racial profiling, and to protect religious freedom in the workplace. ‘It is time that we embraced our Sikh brothers and sisters as peaceful and productive members of the American society,’ she said.
California-based Congresswoman Judy Chu said: ‘This caucus will be the voice for American Sikhs in the House of Representatives, working across the aisle to address the unique challenges that this community faces. Together, we will preserve religious freedom, protect the safety of all people, and celebrate America’s diversity’
A Sikh Federation (UK) spokesman said: ’It is important the caucus represents Sikh-Americans interests in the US, but also the treatment and human rights concerns relating to Sikhs across the globe, whether it be religious freedoms in European countries, such as France and Belgium, or gross human rights violations by the Indian authorities against the minority Sikh community.’
As per information the following Members of Congress have joined the American Sikh Congressional Caucus:
Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Jeff Denham, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Joe Heck, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Tom McClintock, Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Devin Nunes, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Gary Peters, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Jackie Speier, Rep. David Valadao and Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
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