Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi Wishes Sikh-American Community a Joyous Vaisakhi with House Resolution

April 10, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) introduced House Resolution 550 to wish the Sikh-American community a joyous Vaisakhi.

The Vaisakhi festival is held every year in mid April. In addition to commemorating the creation of the Khalsa, a fellowship of devout Sikhs in 1699, it is also a long established harvest festival held throughout the Punjab region of South Asia. Celebration of Vaisakhi includes performing “Seva” (selfless service), such as providing free food to others and volunteering for community service projects. The Sikh American community also honors the occasion with major parades throughout the United States.

“I proudly represent one of the largest Sikh communities in the nation. For decades, we have confronted the challenges of California together, including education and our current drought. It is in this spirit of cooperation and friendship that I wish Sikhs across America and across the world a most joyous Vaisakhi,” said Congressman Garamendi.

"We are grateful to the resolution sponsors for highlighting the important contributions of Sikh Americans to their communities in all walks of life," said Simran Kaur, Advocacy Manager for the Sikh Coalition. "Sikhs are an integral part of the American fabric, and we look forward to celebrating Vaisakhi with our fellow Americans."

Congressman Garamendi was the lead sponsor of the resolution, which was cosponsored by Representatives Judy Chu (CA), David Valadao (CA), Joseph Crowley (NY), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Eric Swalwell (CA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Dina Titus (NV), Barbara Lee (CA), Jackie Speier (CA), Rush Holt (NJ), and Ami Bera (CA).

Last year, Congressman Garamendi joined a coalition that successfully persuaded the FBI to track hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab-Americans with a letter signed by over 100 Members of Congress.

A PDF of the Vaisakhi resolution is linked here, and its text immediately follows:

RESOLUTION

Honoring the Sikh American community's celebration of Vaisakhi

Whereas Sikhism is a religion founded in the Punjab region of South Asia over five centuries ago and introduced to the United States in the 19th century;

Whereas Sikhism is the fifth largest world religion with approximately 25 million adherents from diverse backgrounds throughout the world, including 500,000 adherents in the United States;

Whereas Sikhs in the United States pursue diverse professions and walks of life, making rich contributions to the  economic vibrancy of the United States as farmers, engineers, doctors, scientists, and business owners;

Whereas Sikh Americans continue to make strides toward securing religious liberty as patriotic members of the United States Armed Forces;

Whereas Vaisakhi is one of the most religiously significant days in Sikh history, commemorating the creation of the Khalsa, a fellowship of devout Sikhs, by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699;

Whereas the Sikh religion is based on a belief in one God and the equality of all human beings; and

Whereas the celebration of Vaisakhi includes performing Seva (selfless service), such as providing free meals to all visitors to Sikh Gurdwaras (Houses of Worship): Now, therefore, be it   

Resolved, That the House of Representatives wishes the Sikh American community a joyous Vaisakhi.