News East West
NEW YORK: Sikhs in the US have launched the National Sikh Campaign to tackle the growing misperceptions of Sikhism since 9/11 and highlight the contribution of Sikh Americans to America.
The decision was taken by business and community leaders across the country gathered at Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington D.C.
“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 also discussed a possible 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. 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).
Called the largest PR effort ever for Sikhism, the campaign aims to reach out to various gurdwaras, organizations and stakeholders within America and internationally to create a positive images of Sikhs.
The gathering also saw presentations from AKPD and Sikh youth as well as Paul Monteiro, former Associate Director of Office of Public Liaison at the White House.
The organizers said the campaign is estimated to cost several million dollars and would require pooling together of community resources engaging all sections of the community.