November 16 2009
3rd Katik (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi)
Press Release

White House and Sikh Community Celebrate the Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, Founder of the Sikh Faith

Washington, DC, USA: The White House and the Sikh community celebrated the 540th Gurpurab (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji by holding a celestial musical performance this past Friday. The White House Office of Public Engagement organized the event which was attended by Sikh organizations and leaders of the Sikh community from around the country. In her speech, Director of Office of Public Engagement, Christina M. Tchen congratulated the Sikh community on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, and thanked both UNITED SIKHS and SCORE for their assistance in organizing the event. Following performances by religious musicians from Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, also known as Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, and Sikh Dharma International, various Sikh leaders spoke about Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, and also about the issues of the Sikh community in America.

Harpreet Singh, Legal Director, UNITED SIKHS spoke at the event, stating, “The Sikh community remembers that Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's teachings emphasized speaking forcefully against social evils and injustices. It is pertinent that Sikhs follow Guru Sahib's teaching and speak out against civil, human and religious rights violations of Sikhs and others. Sikh Americans must be pro-active in advocating for their rights and press the government to address issues of employment discrimination, bullying in schools against Sikh children, hate and bias crimes, and religious and racial profiling at airports and borders. Finally, Sikhs must work together to be able to practice their faith freely and wear all five kakaars (articles of faith), including the kirpan (religious sword), at all times, whether in the military, law enforcement, at school, or in public.

Harpreet Singh, Legal Director, UNITED SIKHS, congratulating the community on Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's Gurpurab, and reminding them of their duty to advocate for justice

Sikh Community Leaders with Officials from the White House Office of Public Engagement

A diverse group of Sikh organizations and individuals attended the event, including but not limited to: Sikh Dharma International, SCORE, Sikh Coalition, Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah, Sikh Cultural Society NY, and Sikh Youth of America

Ex-City Councilman Richmond, California and Executive Board Member of the California Democratic Party, Harpreet Singh Sandhu also spoke at the event, commenting, “we greatly appreciate the recognition of this important day where millions of Sikhs around the world celebrate the founding of the Sikh faith; it was pleasure to see officials speak so highly of the Sikh community and our identity.”

Commenting on the event, Harbans Singh, a Sikh community leader from New York stated, “We appreciate the White House's outreach to the Sikh Americans and recognition of this important day for the Sikh community.”

Gurdial Singh, President of Gurdwara Ravidass of New York, stated, “President Obama has brought new hope for the equal protection of civil liberties for all Americans, and we are thankful of his support for the Sikh community.”

Again, we would to like to remind the Sikh Community that it is through overcoming our differences and working together that we will be able to overcome challenges to religious identity and our honorable way of life as prescribed by Guru Nanak Sahib Ji.

We thank all Sikh organizations and leaders for participating in this event, and extend our deepest gratitude to the White House for celebrating Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's 540th Gurpurab (birth anniversary); we especially thank Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement, for inviting a diverse group of organizations and individuals to the meeting.

Issued By:
Jaspreet Singh
Staff Attorney

Previous Links

You may read a previous press release on UNITED SIKHS' advocacy efforts here.

Contact Us

To Contact UNITED SIKHS, please visit: www.unitedsikhs.org/contact/


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.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

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.