Sikhs of New York hold fundraiser for Turban Day

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Gippy Grewal and Roshan Prince at the music launch of “Subedar Joginder Singh” in Times Square. (Courtesy: Harbir Bassi)

NEW YORK – Sikhs of New York, partnering with Saga Music, raised about $2,000 on March 24 at the Watson Hotel, in New York City, during their fundraising dinner for Turban Day, which was attended by over 250 people.

The event was attended by Gippy Grewal and Roshan Prince who were there to launch the music album for their upcoming Punjabi film “Subedar Joginder Singh”, which they claimed was the first film from India to have its music album launched in the United States.

Grewal and Prince, along with dancers from Roots Academy and AU Sapna, performed a flash mob in Times Square to launch the music of the film.

The film is about the life of Subedar Joginder Singh, a soldier from the Indian Army who gained fame while fighting during the Indo-China war of 1962. The film is set to release on Friday, April 6.

During the event Grewal signified the importance of the turban by pointing out how Punjabi movies are becoming more popular in the Western world and how Bollywood is also embracing turban in their films.

“The turban is a part of our identity,” said Prince, who was happy to see a lot of people at Times Square embracing the Punjabi culture.

“I saw people putting their hands up and shouting ‘balle balle.’ This means that people are noticing who we are,” he added, replying to numerous hate crimes against the Sikh community.

Dancers from Roots Academy and AU Sapna perform at a flash mob in Times Square. (Courtesy: Harbir Bassi)

The Sikh community has been harassed for over a century, starting with the 1907 Bellingham Riots in Washington state where 500 people chased the Sikh community from their barracks into the streets of Bellingham, Washington, according to ProPublica.

In recent times, racial attacks on the Sikh community increased after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They are often mistaken as Muslims. In fact, the Sikh Coalition had documented more than 300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikhs in the U.S. within the first month following the 9/11 attacks, according to a CNN report.

In 2012, a gunman entered a gurdwara in Wisconsin and killed six people.

In 2016, designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia told CNN that security guards prevented him from boarding an Aeromexico flight in Mexico after he refused to remove his turban during a security screening and was told to buy a ticket for a different airline.

According to the Sikhs of NY website, the objective of Turban Day is to raise “awareness among all Americans and other world citizens about Sikhism and turban and to help correct misperceptions about turban through which we share the values of love, faith, equality and social justice.”

Sikhs of New York will be hosting the sixth Annual Turban Day on Saturday, April 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Times Square where turbans will be tied on non–Sikhs who will also get other material to educated themselves about the Sikh religion and community.

This year Sikhs of New York plans to tie 10,000 turbans to try get featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Awareness about the Sikh religion and community will also be spread through cultural performances on stage and virtual turbanizing through the turbanizer app, throughout the day, according to the organizers.

Dancers from Roots Academy and AU Sapna perform at a flash mob in Times Square. (Courtesy: Himanshu Daarji)
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