Upon release of the first-ever national survey of Sikh Americans, by the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) released the following statement. Please see this link for the press release about the survey results.

“Real change comes from communities. That means we as elected leaders should listen to people about what their communities need, and it’s vital that we have numbers to give us the big picture. For too long, data has been missing for Sikh communities in America. This survey is a wonderful step toward filling that gap.

“Sikh Americans are engaged and enthusiastic. What we need are channels for that energy. One of the great lessons that we can draw from this survey is that, while discrimination and harassment are real, we can work together to transcend them. We can work together, through the political process as well as in our communities and our schools, to educate our neighbors and raise awareness. Many Sikh parents like me have spent hours in our elementary schools teaching classes about Sikhism — the fifth largest religion in the world and one that has been a part of American culture for more than a century.

“The survey reveals that equality is not only one of the barriers facing Sikh Americans but also one of the areas where we are most passionate. As Sikhs, we believe deeply in promoting equality among all people, exhibiting humility, and undertaking service to others. This survey is a great call to action on this and many other issues. It is only thanks to the tireless work of groups like SALDEF — which put the important issues in perspective — that we can build the collective will inside the Legislature to make progress on these issues.”