For the first time: Float dedicated to Sikh Americans in US parade

  • Neetika Walter, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 31, 2014 10:39 IST

This will be the first time that a float will be dedicated to Sikh Americans in the Rose Parade in Pasadena in California, USA, on Thursday. This is the 126th edition of the parade, which is held in Pasadena every year.

This year, 41 floats will participate in the event which is themed ‘inspiring stories’.

Twelve persons from the Sikh American community will ride atop the float backed by California-based non-profit organisations— United Sikh Mission, Sikh Lens and Khalsa Care Foundation — with support from other members of the community, and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF).

It will showcase tales of Sikh Americans with the aim to highlight their integral role in the larger American community. Raspal Dhindsa, founder of United Sikh Mission, said, “The Sikh American story speaks of American ideals such as dedication to family, honest hard work, and an enterprising spirit. That’s why the float will be featured during America’s New Year celebrations this year.”

One of the structures on the float is of the Stockton Gurdwara, the first Sikh house of worship established in the US, 102 years ago.

Maninder Kaur, who is part of the team which designed the float, said, “You’ll also see a cornucopia and a locomotive, which represent Sikh Americans who were labourers and farmers in 1903.”

“Many Sikh families continue to farm and manufacture in the United States. Many have made major contributions to business and democracy. One such person is Jaspreet Kaur Saini, the first Sikh American woman lawyer in the Navy JAG Corps. The peaches on the float represent Didar Singh Bains, who is affectionately called the ‘Peach King of California’ for growing the largest number of peaches in the country,” she said.

The twelve persons riding the float are said to represent the Sikh community’s diversity and values, telling tales of Sikh Americans who are members of California-based police forces, the army, a film student at Chapman University, and civil rights advocates.

A Sikh boy in school uniform will also ride the float to narrate the tale of harassment faced by kids of the community due to mistaken identity. A Sikh American family will also be depicted.

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