A million dollar ad campaign will be used to educate the American public about Sikhs.
Sikhs in America will be launching an awareness campaign to stop the hate crimes against them. The campaign will be devised to help the community talk about their beliefs and their identity. Sikhs have often been the victims of hate crimes, especially after the 9/11 attacks, due to their cultural resemblance to Muslims.
The campaign, titled “We are Sikhs,” has been in development for years. It was funded mostly by leaders within the community and their respective families.
For Sikhs, the beard and the turban stand as symbols of equality against caste bias, an issue that is prevalent in India, where the Sikhs originally come from. However, their appearance is quite similar to that of Muslims, who are also misunderstood as being a community of terrorists.
According to Rajwant Singh, a volunteer organizer for the campaign and dentist by profession, the goal of the campaign is to end the hate crimes against Sikhs, which have continued at more or less the same frequency since 9/11.
The advertisements will be aired on Fox News, CNN and various other TV stations in Fresno, California, which is home to a large Sikh population. The messages in the advertisements will focus on Sikh families explaining the roots of their beliefs and how they align with American values. The hate crimes against the Sikhs will not be discussed in the ads.
There have been over 300 hate crime incidents against the community, across the country, since the 9/11 attacks.
An online campaign will also be launched soon after, while more ads are being developed for other cities with significant Sikh populations.
Members of the community make it clear that their children are brought up with the same values that Americans are brought up with, which include gender equality, tolerance and religious freedom etc.
The ads were created after consultations with Democratic and Republican firms. However, there have been no mentions of President Donald Trump. The community insists that their efforts are just a coincidence and have nothing to do with the current President, who has courted controversy for his rhetoric against immigrants.
AKPD developed the ads based on research provided by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC) and several other Sikh organizations. In fact, some of the data was borrowed from the “Know Your Neighbor” project, which was organized last year by the NSC.