NewYork (May 23rd) With the blessing of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and support from all Gurudwara committees as well as Sikh Religious Organizations, Sikh Coordination Committee East Cost(SCCEC) successfully organized Vaisakhi (Birthday of Khalsa) with “National Sikh Day Parade (Sikh Freedom March)” at Washington D.C. According to press release issued by SCCEC “Thousands of Sikhs from all over United States came to nation’s capital Washington DC today to celebrate the creation of Khalsa by 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in spring of 1699. The parade started on Constitution Avenue across from the Lincoln Memorial. Despite the inclement weather Sikh men, women, and children dressed in the traditional bright orange colored turbans, chunnis and patkas thronged the Constitution Avenue in a mile long procession towards the US Capitol Hill Grounds. The lead float of Sri Guru Granth Sahib was tastefully decorated by colorful fresh flowers and there was long lines of devotees to pay their respects.
This year’s special attraction was a 60 member Marching Band of young Sikh children who travelled from New York City to participate in the parade. There was plenty to see at the parade. It had floats depicting Punjab Independence Referendum 2020, newly formed World Sikh Parliament, Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar, SAD Amritsar, and Sikh Media TV84. There was a Gatka team (Sikh martial arts) and Nagaras (Sikh war Drums). The volunteers were distributing free food and drinks to all following the best traditions of the institution of Langar.
The leadership of Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Indiana, Michigan, and California Gurdwaras and Jathebandis addressed the concluding rally held at the US Capitol Hill grounds. The leaders talked about Sikh Identity, Sikh Values, Sikh Culture and Sikh Sovereignty.
Sukhdeep Singh Barnala, Calgary Canada was the featured speaker, who spoke eloquently on current Sikh issues including the looting of Punjab river waters. In addition the rally was addressed by Dr. Amarjit Singh of Khalistan Affairs Center; Dr. Bakhshish Singh Sandhu, President Council of Khalistan; Boota Singh Kharoud, Convener-USA SAD Amritsar; Dilbagh Singh UK, Producer movie Toofan Singh; Sarbjit Kaur, United Sikhs; Avtar Singh Pannu, Sikhs For Justice and Gurvinder Singh, United Sikhs, Australia.
Harpreet Singh Rana, of Sikhs For Justice was conferred with the Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh Memorial Award-2018 for his unrelenting and dedicated work for Sikh Nation and Punjab Independence Referendum 2020.
“SCCEC in a short span of less than three years of its existence has accomplished remarkable successes. To promote Sikh Identity, it has effectively lobbied in several US States to recognize month of April as “Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month”. New Jersey became the first state in the nation to legislate a law signed by its Governor (after bills passed in state Assembly and Senate unanimously) to make April 14th each year as Sikh Day and April each year as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month”, said Himmat Singh, Coordinator of SCCEC.
Additionally, in the US House, working with the US Congressional Sikh Caucus, it was instrumental in getting Bill HR 189 introduced in US House to recognize April 14th as National Sikh Day. Similar effort is underway also in US Senate, where Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey read a floor statement in Senate Chamber recognizing Sikh Religion and April 14th as Khalsa Sirjana Divas.
“This is the beginning of the Sikh community’s participation in American political process and many more successes are destined to come”, said Harjinder Singh, Media Spokesman of SCCEC. In the end Himmat Singh thanked all the parade participants, the Sikh leadership in attendance and the Volunteers for their untiring service to make this parade a rousing success.”