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April is Sikh Awareness and Appreciation month in Illinois

April is Sikh Awareness and Appreciation month in Illinois
August 16
12:20 2019

RAJINDER MAGO

CHICAGO: Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new law August 3 designating April as “Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month” in the state of Illinois.

The event took place at Sikh Religious Society (SRS) Palatine Gurdwara. A mini outdoor office of the Governor was set up in the picturesque front lawn of the gurdwara building, near “Nishan Sahib”,  to conduct the gubernatorial signing ceremony according to official protocol and tradition.

Governor Pritzker was surrounded by members of the Sikh community in the premises of the gurdwara ” when he signed the bill.

More than 200 Sikhs and guests attended the ceremony and celebration.

“As we shape our state to be a place that embraces our future with open arms, we would do well to take a page from the Sikh community. That’s why I’m proud to sign this legislation designating the month of April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month,” Pritzker said amid applause from the Sikh community members.

“As Sikhs throughout the world celebrate the 550th anniversary of the birth of their first guru, we celebrate you as an integral part of the Illinois community. We are tremendously proud that so many Sikhs call this state their home,” tweeted Governor Pritzker. “I hope the new law will provide a greater understanding of the Sikh community.”

The HB2832 Bill had first passed the house vote bearing signatures of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Michael J. Madigan, and the Senate President John J. Cullerton.

The State Commemorative Dates Act is amended by adding Section 8 which states: “The month of April of each year is designated as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation month to be observed throughout the State as a month to recognize the many ways that Sikh Americans have influenced American history, achievement, culture, and innovation.”

State Representative Michelle Mussman sponsored the bill which was co-sponsored in the House by State Representatives Fred Crespo, Stephanie Kifowit, Tom Morrison, and Jonathan Carroll and supported by many others including Mark Walker, Mark Kalish, Karina Villa, Theresa Mah, and Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz.

The bill was filed in the Senate by Senate President John Cullerton and supported by Illinois Senators Ann Gillespie, Laura Murphy, Laura Ellman, and Ram Villivalam among many others. The bill passed in both houses. The Governor’s signature August 3 made it a law. The law takes effect from January 1, 2020.

State Representative Michelle Mussman expressed her pleasure to sponsor the house bill HB2832 and praised the Sikh community for their core values, contributions to the society, and service to humanity.

SRS Palatine president Dr Pardeep Singh Gill welcomed and thanked the Governor and the guests. Gill explained the significance of the month of April for the Sikh community. It includes “Khalsa Saajna Divas” (birth of the Khalsa order) and also birth of the founder of Sikh faith Guru Nanak. The Punjabi festival of Baisakhi also falls in April.

A poster depicting the bravery of Sikh Soldiers in World Wars I and II was presented to the Governor as a token of appreciation by Sarwan Singh and Gill.

The dignitaries, in addition to Governor Pritzker, who attended the event included Illinois State Representatives Michelle Mussman and Mark Walker, State Senators Ann Gillespie and Laura Ellman, Palatine Township committeeman Matt Flamm, committeeman Patrick Watson, and Hanover Park Township trustee Khaja Moinuddin among others.

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