CHICAGO: Lakhwant Singh Komal, Secretary at Gurdwara Sahib of Chicago and a past president of Sikh Religious Society in Palatine opened the September 12 meeting of the City Council of Chicago with a Sikh invocation.
Chicago Aldermen Ameya Pawar with co-sponsorships of Aldermen Deborah Silverstein and Joe Moore introduced a resolution in the Chicago City Council addressing the recent violent attacks on Sikhs at Oak Creek Wisconsin Gurdwara, and several Muslim institutions and urging the city to take measures to promote tolerance.
“The Sikh invocation at the opening of the Chicago City Council is a historic and special event. The Sikh American community of Chicago appreciates both Alderman Ameya Pawar and South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI) for taking the initiative to make this happen. Further, the resolution confirms Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s and the City Council’s commitment to the freedom and respect of all people to practice their faith fearlessly,” said Rajinder Singh Mago, a Sikh community leader who also gave input on the language of the resolution which was introduced.
Mago is on the board of governors of Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago and also a trustee emeritus of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, founded in Chicago.
“This resolution is a statement about Chicago’s values and I felt it was important to call out some of the inflammatory rhetoric in public sphere – there are many elected and public officials that actively stoke these flames to further a political agenda. This is not right. Mayor Emanuel is working to make Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the nation – now our conversation must reflect that goal,” said Alderman Pawar.
SAAPRI also commended Illinois House Representative Daniel Biss for introducing a similar resolution at the state level, with Representative Lou Lang serving as chief cosponsor. “Racially motivated violence diminishes our whole society and all civic institutions must band together and state clearly that our region will never tolerate such outrages,” said Representative Biss.
SAAPRI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established in 2001 to improve the lives of South Asian Americans in the Chicago area, by using research to formulate equitable and socially responsible public policy.