Sikhs are spreading awareness in the midst of rising hate crimes.The Sikhs of New York achieved a new world record when they tied over 9,000 turbans in only a few hours. The record was set as Sikhs celebrated in the Times Square Annual Turban Day. The intention behind this activity was to spread awareness about Sikhism at a time when hate crimes against the community have risen.
Turban Day is now an institutionalized event. It began in 2013. The timing was deliberately chosen to coincide with the Vaisakhi festival that celebrates the founding of Khalsa sect of the Sikh community on April 14. In 2018, this New York event was celebrated a week early. Chanpreet Singh, founder, Sikhs of New York, told the media that about 9,000 turbans were tied. He added that he and members of his organization were “thrilled” to achieve this world record. The Guinness World Record conferred the community organization for the maximum number of turbans tied within a space of eight hours by Sikhs of New York. The record also included the detail of Times Square as a venue for the record. The record date was April 7, 2018.
— Gurmeet Sodhi (@GurmeetKSodhi) April 7, 2018
The Sikhs who tied the turbans also spoke about the identity of Sikhs so that non-Sikhs were made aware of the community's culture. This was done to spread much-needed awareness among Americans along with other nationalities about Sikhism and its various articles of faith. The turban was given particular focus as the religious headgear was misidentified with terror activities. The latter problem was particularly acute in the time immediately after 9/11 terror attacks.
According to Sikhs of New York, not only New York residents, but visitors from all over the world attended the event. Many wore the turban for the first time in their lives and also gained knowledge of Sikhism. Singh claimed that volunteers tied turbans independent of race, age, color, or gender. He added they are Sikh Americans and diversity is a strength of the American population. Turban Day educates people concerning the Sikh faith. The latter preaches equality of all mankind. Other than turban tying, volunteers also gave cultural presentations, which includes playing musical instruments.
In 2017, Gregory Meeks, Congressman of New York's 5th Congressional District had issued a city declaration where he proclaimed April 15, 2017, as “Turban Day.” He also praised work done by Sikhs of New York about educating the other communities concerning Sikhism.