Indian American community in Jackson Heights and broader Queens area of New York has honoured Joe Crowley, Democratic member of the US House of Representatives for his efforts on behalf of the community.
During the event in Queens, New York last week, Crowley, vice chair of the Democratic Caucus was recognised for his successful efforts to convince the federal government to begin collecting data on hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans and Hindu-Americans.
His leadership in establishing the first-ever, breakthrough Congressional Diwali celebration in the US Congress in October 2013 and his ongoing work to end the presumptive ban on Sikhs serving in the US military, were also lauded.
"The Indian-American community is an integral part of Queens and our city, contributing to our economic success and enriching our culture," said Crowley, who serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans in the House.
"I am proud to have fought for and won concrete victories on behalf of the community and I will continue to do so," he said.
Nearly 100 community members and leaders from New York's Sikh-American and the broader Indian-American community attended the event.
Over the past two years, Crowley has been at the forefront of a major effort in Congress to convince the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to begin collecting data on hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans and Hindu-Americans.
He has introduced legislation and sent multiple letters to DOJ and FBI. In July 2013, then-FBI director Robert Mueller announced that the bureau would begin to implement this programme.
Crowley is also leading the call on the US military to end its presumptive ban on Sikh articles of faith, including turbans and beard.
He is spearheading a bipartisan letter requesting that the US Armed Forces update their appearance regulations to allow Sikh Americans to serve while abiding by their articles of faith.