The North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) and United Sikhs-a US based NGO has hailed California governor Edmund G Brown for signing two bills to promote civil rights and religious freedom for sikhs.
Brown signed the bills AB1964 and SB1540 for the purpose, following his remarks at the NAPA's Peace & Unity Rally at the State Capitol, Sacramento on August 8.
The rally was organised to honour the victims of the August 5 shooting at a Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin.
"Sikh Americans are loyal citizens who have been targeted because of widespread ignorance about their religion and culture," said governor Brown. "The bills I sign aim to ensure that Californians learn about our sikh citizens as well as protect all of us from job discrimination based on religious observances."
AB 1964 by Assembly member Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) clarifies that the practice of wearing religious clothing or a religious hairstyle as a belief or observance is covered by protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
SB 1540 Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) requires the State Board of Education to consider adopting a revised curriculum framework and evaluation criteria for instructional materials in history-social science.
Participants of this rally were holding United States flags in their hands and shouting slogans "We are proud to be Sikh Americans"
This peace and unity rally was started with National Anthem of United States and Prayer by the Sikh Priest. Two minute's moment of silence was observed to pay the tributes to those innocent Sikh members who were killed in Wisconsin shooting.
NAPA president Satnam Singh Chahal said that this bill authorise the State Board of Education to complete the revision process of the History-Social Science Framework for California schools.
"This will be an important step for the California Sikh community, because the draft framework currently includes information about Sikhs in seven distinct areas. When the law will be enforced then this framework will ensure that California students learn about Sikhism and Sikh contributions, thereby increasing appreciation for diversity and reducing ignorance of the sort that leads to bullying and bias."
United Sikhs, another NGO thanked the valour efforts put by Dr. Onkar Singh Bindra, who had been involved in drafting the bill SB1540.