Gujari Singh of SALDEF informed TOI on Tuesday that the aim to launch the survey was to capture details on demographics, political affiliation, opinions on social issues, personal experiences and behaviours of the Sikh American community.
“Upon completion of the survey, we will create a report that will be made available to the Sikh community, researchers, educational institutions, government, private and the non-profit sector. The survey will also be used to guide SALDEF in tailoring decision making on advocacy, programming and outreach for the community” said he.
Notably, the Sikhs came to the US for the first time in the 1890s to work in the lumber mills of the Pacific Northwest, in the farms of California, and to build the railroads that would connect America.
He informed that there were an estimated 700,000 Sikhs in the US and gurdwaras across the country. “Despite long history and contributions to the US, the Sikh Americans have been the targets of discrimination, particularly following the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” he said.
Giving example, he said Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot and killed because of his articles of faith, making him the first victim of a fatal post-9/11 hate crime. On August 5, 2012, six worshippers were killed in an attack at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the deadliest attack on an American house of worship since the 1963 attack on the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
Executive director, SALDEF, Kiran Kaur said “SALDEF’s fundamental goal is to ensure that we are providing the resources needed for the community to excel. This survey will not only help us with our programming but also help to ensure the wants and needs of the community are heard by decision-makers” adding that SALDEF’s survey dataset would provide an accurate profile of the Sikh community in the US”.
The survey was open to Sikh Americans 13 years and would close on August 9, she added.