Five Sikhs Elected to Queens Democratic County Committee

September 20, 2006

Source: Sikh Coalition

On September 20, 2006 the Sikh Coalition reported, "Leaders of the Sikh community and city officials joined together today at Borough Hall in Queens to announce the first-ever election of Sikhs in New York. The five individuals – Harjinder Singh Duggal, Dhan Singh, Gurmej Singh, Mohinder Singh, and Harpreet Singh Wahan – were elected to the Queens Democratic County Committee in last week’s Primary Election. They will attend their first meeting of the Queens County Committee tonight, representing their communities in Flushing, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park. 'Since 9/11, Sikhs have lived in constant fear of hate crimes and discrimination. Sikhs have been branded as terrorists because we wear turbans,' said Amardeep Singh Legal Director of the Sikh Coalition. 'The election of Sikhs in New York signals a new era where Sikhs can proactively raise awareness and fight prejudice with our political clout.' The road to election was not easy for the five Sikh candidates. The candidates had to confront prejudice first-hand as they went door-to-door gathering signatures to get their name on the ballot. 'In the beginning, I was concerned about knocking on people’s doors to ask for their vote,' said Mohinder Singh. 'Some people saw me and told me to go away. But by the end, people were approaching me to talk about issues.' 'New York City is home to 55,000 Sikhs. Worldwide, there are 25 million Sikhs. We have the fifth largest religion in the world yet Sikhs remain misunderstood and are targets of discrimination because of the way we look and the clothes we wear,' said Harjinder Singh Duggal."