Sikh Community Saves California Town's Fourth Of July Celebrations

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After learning that Visalia, California, wouldn't have enough money to put on a fireworks show, a group of Sikhs came together to save the day.

Sikh man holds his beard as he looks at the camera.The Fourth of July just isn't the same without a good fireworks show. When a California town was unable to provide its residents with an Independence Day celebration, a group of Sikh community members stepped in. 

Visalia, California, was on the verge of having a subpar Fourth of July. Mayor Warren Gubler told Amritpal Singh, a local Sikh businessman, that the city wasn't going to have enough money to put on a fireworks show, so Singh and others in his community chipped in $10,000 for the festivities to continue, NBC reports.

To Gubler, this act of kindness wasn't just important because it helped to keep the tradition alive; it meant so much more because the Fourth of July event was also going to benefit a children's charity.

As an active Sikh community member, Singh is known in Visalia for employing homeless people who have seen better days. After helping the mayor with the Fourth of July celebrations, Singh and others said they are confident that their efforts won't go unnoticed.

Unfortunately, members of the Sikh community across the country have long been the victims of discrimination and violence ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As such, these actions of generosity and kindness have also turned into a way of bringing Americans and Sikhs closer together.

With the donation made to Visalia on behalf of the local Sikh community, Sikhs who are members of a nationwide campaign to help educate Americans on their culture, known as the National Sikh Campaign, saw an opportunity to have their voices echoed far and wide.

Earlier this year, the same group launched a $1 million television ad depicting Sikh families doing things that all Americans like to do, such as watching “Game of Thrones” and playing football. The ad also told viewers that Sikh values are nothing but American values.

Gurwin Ahuja, who served as a President Barack Obama administration appointee and who's also involved with the campaign, said that “[Sikh] core central beliefs are profoundly American: Racial equality; gender equality; religious tolerance.”

Being part of a group that follows the world's fifth-largest religion, Sikhs are still relatively unknown to the American public. Because Sikhs wear turbans, they are often automatically mistaken as Muslims, even though actual Muslims seldom wear turbans. Given the copious amounts of misinformation, Sikhs are now doing everything in their power to change people's perception.

Hopefully, with this latest show of solidarity in Visalia, the Sikh community can further spread their message of unity to Americans.

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