HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

US gurdwaras join hands to improve Sikhs’ image

PTI  Washington, August 22, 2014
First Published: 07:46 IST(22/8/2014) | Last Updated: 07:49 IST(22/8/2014)

Amid increasing incidents of hate crimes against Sikhs, gurdwaras in the US have decided to launch an intensive national campaign running into $5 million (around ` 30 crore) to improve the community’s image in America.

Representatives from more than 100 gurdwaras in the US held a meeting here over the weekend to discuss the strategy, wherein a detailed presentation was made by Hart Research’s Geoff Garin, who served as Hillary Clinton’s former top political strategist, and Isaac Baker of AKPD Message and Media, President Barack Obama’s media firm.

The two have been hired by Sikh leaders to help change perceptions about them in the US.

Garin gave the meeting’s participants an exclusive update on the National Sikh Campaign’s groundbreaking messaging research that will underpin the effort and inform the community how it can effectively communicate to the American public, a media release said.

“The Sikh community in the US has never been more educated, more wealthy, and more successful than today and we have also never had this many gurdwara leaders together in a room. We have never been more primed to do something big,” said Gurwin Ahuja, executive director of the National Sikh Campaign.

As per a media release, Sikh leaders worked together to create a realistic region-by-region breakdown of US gurdwaras and fund-raising strategies were also discussed and approved to reach an overall target of $5 million.

Dr Rajwant Singh, president of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, said there was a consensus about a critical need for this kind of media strategy for the Sikh community.

“Our goal is to keep the focus on introducing Sikhism and the Sikh identity while showing the positive contribution of the community in the media,” he said.

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