Exhibit on Sikhs in the Pacific Northwest Opens at Washington Museum

October 25, 2005

Source: The Seattle Times


On October 25, 2005 The Seattle Times reported, "In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, Parminder Singh [a Bellvue Sikh] remembers how somebody yelled 'Go home!' to him at a gas station, and that security guards at an airport asked him to remove his turban — something deeply offensive to his Sikh faith. A Sikh motel owner in SeaTac was beaten with a metal cane. There were reports of Sikh cabdrivers being attacked and yelled at, of Sikh schoolchildren harassed for wearing turbans... But few people in America knew what Sikhism is about, Singh and other local Sikh community leaders realized, and so began an effort to educate the larger community about the world's fifth-largest religion, a monotheistic faith that originated in India more than 500 years ago and claims up to half a million followers in the U.S. Local Sikhs have been speaking at public schools and to community groups, and this week debuted their latest effort: an exhibit at the Wing Luke Asian Museum, tracing the century-old history of Sikhs in the Pacific Northwest... Sept. 11 brought home 'the realization that you can exist in the community, yet nobody recognizes you for who you are,' said Jasmit Singh, director of education for the local Sikh Coalition, which partnered with Wing Luke on the exhibit. 'You have to be socially and politically active in the community you live in to make sure people understand who you are.'"