Community Update

Obama Administration celebrates the first Sikh Guru's Birthday at the White House


WASHINGTON D.C: On Friday, December 7th, the White House celebrated 544th birthday of the first guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. UNITED SIKHS volunteers, community members, activists and Sikhs from all over the United States joined in the celebrations. The White House's Eisenhower executive office building was filled with Sikh Jaikaras and the universal message of Guru Nanak's mission of remembering one god, equality and truthful living.

Members of the Sikh community from around the country were invited to celebrate the occasion with traditional hymns led by the Sikh Kirtani Chanters, Bhai Niranjan Singh & Sucha Singh, Jawaddi Kalan, India. Guru Nanak Saheb preached against discrimination and prejudices due to race, caste, status and was one of the first people in the late 1400s and early 1500s, to attempt to improve respect towards women. He played a key role in that era as what the United Nations has done in the past.

Paul Monteiro Joshua DuBois
Paul Monteiro, Director of Office of Public Engagement, Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Sikh chanters-Niranjan Singh, Sucha Singh, Jawaddi Kalan, Joshua DuBois Executive Director of the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, spoke on behalf of the US President Barack Obama.

Welcome remarks were given by D. Paul Monteiro, Associate Director, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House. Joshua DuBois Executive Director of the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships reflected on Guru Nanak's message to the world community.

"I send my best wishes to all those here in America and around the world who are observing the anniversary of birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru," Obama said. Referring to the tragic incident in Wisconsin, early this year that left six worshipers dead, he said "I can't think of a better way to honor their memory, and to join our Sikh friends as they mark this sacred time, than to recommit ourselves to the spirit of pluralism, equality and compassion that define both the Sikh community and our nation".

Harpreet Singh Jaswant Singh
Harpreet Singh., Regional Director, addressing Obama administration staff and community members Jaswant Singh Hothi, President AGPC addressing the crowd

Harpreet Singh, Regional Director of UNITED SIKHS on policy, said: "While celebrating we reaffirm our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. We can create an impact by stepping-up our roles in the areas of Civil and Human rights, education and matters that impact humanity globally".

Thomas Edward Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice., said, "The US Administration is supportive of all communities and lets call the incident in Wisconsin what it really was - a hate crime". Tom was joined with Mazen Basrawi Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice, along with Eric Treene, Special Counsel for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.

Harpreet Singh Jaswant Singh
Thomas Edward Perez, the Assistant Attorney General, for the Civil Rights Division, Eric Treene, Special Counsel for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and Mazen Basrawi Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice US Director Community Relations Service, DOJ, Grande Lum addressing the sangat

US DOJ's Community Relations Service (CRS) Director, Grande Lum spoke at the event. He was accompanied with Regional Director (CRS-Philadelphia) Harpreet Singh Mokha. Jaswant Singh Hothi, President American Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee addressed the community members and the staff.

Seema Kaur GurdwaraCommitteeMembers
Dr Seema Kaur, Regional Director, UNITED SIKHS addressing the congregation at the White House Gurdwara Committee members and Sikh activists from NY, Virginia, California with Ca Congressman Jerry Mcnerny (D-Stockton)

UNITED SIKHS Regional Director Dr. Seema Kaur, said "Guru Nanak's message promotes social progress, creating better standards of life and also a clarion call to defend human rights. His five journey's across the world, meeting various kings, community leaders, people of various faiths and ideologies, Guru Sahibji engaged them in dialogues, resolved conflicts, defended minorities and was a voice of hope for all. We sincerely hope the President and the administration will continue to highlight the contributions and address the challenges the Sikh community faces in the current environment. UNITED SIKHS will continue its work through meaningful partnerships with the administration and make sure that the voice of the Sikh community continues to resonate."

Harpreet Singh Jaswant Singh
Participants at the White House Celebration Sangat members at the Celebration

"Obama has once again demonstrated that he has admiration for the high principles of equality and interfaith collaborative spirit started by Guru Nanak and we are thankful to him and his team" said Bakshish Singh, Advisor to UNITED SIKHS.

UNITED SIKHS thanks all volunteers, friends, organizations and others who joined us to celebrate the birthday of the founder of the Sikh Faith, Guru Nanak. Names of the few who participated are - Sammitar Singh, Ranjit Singh, Sirmukh Singh Manku, Satleen Kaur, Jatinder Singh, Harinder Singh, Balwinder Singh Chatha, Deep Kaur, Charanjit Singh Dua, Gurpreet Singh, Avtar Singh, Ishpreet Kaur, Sandeep Singh Guleria, Kamaldeep Kaur, Amrit Kaur, Navjit Singh Bhasin, Navjit Singh Sahota, Jagjit Singh Sahota, Charanjit Singh Dhaliwal, Nina Kaur Sachdev, Navneet Singh Narula, Satnam Singh, Dr Jagdeep Kaur, Dr Kanwaljit Singh Ahuja, Kulwant Singh, Harjinder Singh Kehal, Master Mohinder Singh, Gurmej Singh and many others.

Please read more about our work tackling issues such as our national campaign for protecting Sikh identity.

Issued By-
Manmeet Singh
Staff Attorney, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)
Tel: (646) 315-3909

Our Mission

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

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Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.