The Sikh American Tradition of Langar comes to Capitol Hill.
Washington, D.C. – The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)’s SikhLEAD Internship class and Congressman Mike Honda’s office will co-host Langar, a 500-year old Sikh tradition that aims to eradicate segregation and classicism and promote food justice on Capitol Hill.
SALDEF’s 2015 SikhLEAD Internship Class continues to make their generation’s presence known on Capitol Hill. This year, alongside Congressman Mike Honda’s office, they will host Langar on the Hill. Langar is a Sikh tradition that serves as a 500 year old anti-segregation movement. Langar on the Hill will also feature remarks from members of Congress and SALDEF explaining the importance of Langar in the context of the Sikh American experience.
“I am honored to once again host this event that celebrates the contributions of Sikh Americans by breaking bread with members of the Sikh Community, Congressional members, and staff. Sikh Americans have a long history of innovative community engagement and leadership, from the Honorable Dalip Singh Saund who was one of our great pioneers in Congress, to the advocates at SALDEF who work to build dialogue, deepen our understanding, and uphold social justice for all Americans. Having the occasion to share a meal as equals is a strong reminder about the values of equality and universal friendship,” said Congressman Honda.
— Sikh Americans (@SALDEF) July 19, 2015
Sikhism’s founder, Guru Nanak, established langar in order to eradicate barriers of caste, class, and gender. Langar features communities coming together to sit and enjoy a simple and hearty meal, regardless of differing backgrounds. By coming together in this tradition, Langar establishes that all are equal and deserving of the same love and respect. For the first time, Langar on the Hill conversations will also explore the role of Mata Khivi, a Sikh woman and historical figure who played a significant role in institutionalizing Langar and ensuring that caring for those who are less fortunate were integral to the Sikh way of life. The loss of nine parishioners in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church will also be recognized.
DATE: Tuesday, July 28, 2015
TIME: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
WHERE: Rayburn Foyer
South Capitol St., First St., and C St., S.W, bounded by Independence Avenue
“Sikh Americans have a 125-year history in the United States. SALDEF’s public perception assessment of Sikh Americans, Turban Myths, conducted alongside researchers from Stanford University, gave quantifiable evidence that 7 out of 10 Americans cannot identify a Sikh American with a turban and beard,” explained Jaspreet Kaur, SikhLEAD Class of 2015. “Langar on the Hill is a significant opportunity for us to introduce our American history and Sikh values, including equality for all. Moreover, it is a unique opportunity for this rising generation to express to our nation’s leaders how we intend to deepen our civic participation.”
The SikhLEAD Internship Program partners with congressional offices, federal agencies, and DC-based host organizations to provide opportunities that allow Sikh American college, graduate, and law students to initiate future careers of public service and community leadership.
SALDEF is a national Sikh American media and educational organization. Its mission is to empower Sikh Americans by building dialogue, deepening understanding, promoting civic and political participation, and upholding social justice and religious freedom for all Americans. SALDEF is marked by the Sikh values of optimism (chardi kala), humility (nimrata) and service (sewa), inspired by the community (sangat) for the benefit of all (sarbat da bhalla).
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