Sikh Americans - Statue of Liberty
Many Sikh children in America are the first generation of their family to be born on American soil, and are proud of their American citizenship. Sikh children face special challenges in school where they stand out because of their distinct appearance. More than fifty percent of Sikh students have been subjected to ridicule by classmates. Sikh Americans are guaranteed civil liberties by the Constitution of the United States of America.
In a quest for freedom Sikhs have spread out around the world. About half a million Sikhs have settled in the US over the past 20 -30 years. Turban, beard, and sword cause the Sikh to stand out visually. The martial nature of Sikhism is often misunderstood by the onlooker. Sikhs have at times been subjected to harassment and discrimination. Since September 11, 2008, Sikhs have been targeted and victimized by violence. Such incidents are largely due to ignorance of who Sikhs are, and what they stand for.
Sikhism is one of the worlds youngest religions. Five centuries ago Guru Nanak rejected the caste system, idolatry, and worship of demi-gods. He had nine successors who helped to establish the Sikh faith. Gobind Singh, the 10th guru, formalized the religion when he introduced baptism and the order of Khalsa. Sikhs initiated into this new order had requirements of keeping hair intact and wearing a turban. They also vowed to keep a small sword with them at all times. They followed a strict code of honor based on selflessly servicing all of humanity.
Sikhs have a martial history. They battled oppression and persecution. The fought against religious tyranny, defending the right of all people to worship by choice rather than by forced conversion. Guru Gobind Singh named the Sikh scripture as his successor, advising Sikhs that the key to salvation could be in the sacred texts of the Guru Granth. Guru Gobind Singh’s legacy of initiation lives on in the spirit of the Sikh’s traditional appearance.
Sikh Americans would like everyone to know that they are patriotic citizens and proud of their country.