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USA Indiana Sikhs Learning From Community Leaders


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Mayor and Mrs. Ballard, and Mr. David Kane visited the Sikh Temple (Acton Road) in Indianapolis on Sunday, July 17, 2011. Their visit is a part of our deep and sustained commitment to learn about leaders and their vision for our City and State as it relates to the communities that make central Indiana their home. In June, we were happy to welcome Ms. Melina Kennedy, a formidable challenger and Democratic Party’s candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis. Over the last few years, we have welcomed Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Mayor Bart Peterson, Indiana’s First Lady Judy O’Bannon, Indiana State Representatives; heads of American Red Cross, FBI, Indiana Faith Based and Community Initiatives, Asian American Alliance, Indiana Humanities, and several business, education, faith leaders, and students. We frequently invite and receive fellow Americans from other faith traditions and distinguished guests from several countries who visit Indianapolis as guests of the U.S. Department of State. We are grateful for each visitor and opportunity to share ideas on many subjects of common interest and thankful for their friendship with the Sikh American community of central Indiana.

Mayor and Mrs. Greg Ballard made their second visit to the Sikh Temple. This was the first visit for Mr. David Kane, Director of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Indianapolis International Airport, to the Sikh Temple. We have worked with Mr. Kane in providing cultural education about the significance and respect for sacred Sikh articles of faith to the TSA officers during airport screenings.

Mayor Greg Ballard possesses a remarkable resume. He has had a distinguished career as a U.S. Marine, a business leader, a visionary Administrator of Indianapolis- a major American city, married to a beautiful lady of Asian origin; a wonderful father and a thoughtful friend to all cultures. He is passionate about further enhancing our rich tapestry of cultures and ethnic celebrations, exploring the full range of our cultural and community assets, and assuring a rightful place for their future in the fabric and spirit of our City and the Nation. We appreciate and applaud his cultural sensitivity. He understands the power of people and the strength and wisdom that flow from nurturing that spirit in every human being and believes that it brings out the best in us. Mayor Ballard is always willing to go the distance to forge new friendships and alliances, and in this commitment and vision, he has few equals in Indiana or the nation.

Mayor Ballard’s strong personal and professional ethic, a non-political approach to solving tough and complex problems, and putting people and their interests above all else is refreshing. Mayor and Mrs. Ballard exude a spirit of optimism that in the Sikh culture is called Charhdikala. As a Mayor, he has been willing to identify with the citizens, explore new ideas; dare us to follow and encourage us to lead. Mr. Ballard is a man of strong faith and conviction and a tireless champion of diversity in all its multiple dimensions.

Mayor Ballard reminded us that, “it takes a village” with each of us working together to make a city great. It takes good education, sound infrastructure, a responsible management of resources and people’s trust, attractive business environment, safe neighborhoods, improving relationships between faith and ethnic communities, and a City that is looking to its future with a deep sense of its past and imaginative ideas that work. Mayor Ballard promised to do what he can to accommodate Sikh articles of faith for those wishing to pursue law enforcement careers.
Mayor Ballard emphasized that every valuable asset and strength needs to be carefully integrated to produce results that benefit all citizens, and much like Mayor Richard Lugar (now U.S. Senator), he has made this a centerpiece of his leadership style.

Mayor Ballard and Mrs. Ballard, David Kane, and other honored guests who visited with the Sikh community understand the challenges faced by Sikh Americans since the horrific events of 9/11 due to their religiously mandated sacred articles of faith. Mayor Ballard is setting a new standard of community engagement and inclusiveness where talents all communities are recognized and utilized to the fullest. His message reflected a deep commitment to public safety, family values and humanitarian concerns; to our youth and their future in an intensely competitive and interdependent world. He challenged us to do our part and respect the laws. His passion to bring about a renaissance through tireless striving and positive reinforcement about serving is a welcome relief. On behalf of the Sikh congregation, Mr. David Kane was presented the traditional Sikh Siropa; Mrs. Ballard, a silk scarf; and Mayor Ballard, a Siropa and check of $1001.00 in support of families of police officers killed in the line of duty.

Indiana Sikhs have been striving to be an active part of the larger community:
. Inviting City and international guests, and faith leaders to the Sikh
temple for discussions
. Raising funds and collecting the canned food for the Interfaith Hunger
Initiative; and funds for victims of natural disasters: Hurricane
Katrina, Asian Tsunami, major earthquakes and humanitarian projects
. Participating in the Asian American Alliance’s “Race For All Races” to
raise money for student scholarships
. Participating in the 500-Festival Parade as a part of Nationalities
Council’s Parade Unit
. Participating in Interfaith Prayer Services and other faith-related
events and forums
. Supporting school programs, civic and community projects and
. Regularly featuring the Sikh community’s activities and achievements
in the media

Sikhs in central Indiana have been participating in events and discussions to learn about all facets of community life, culture, and political process to understand their opportunities and responsibilities as citizens. In their remarks Mayor Ballard, David Kane, and others have offered reassurance to safeguard interests of all citizens and respect for distinct cultural mandates. They have applauded the initiatives of the Sikh community in serving Indiana and the Nation and encouraged us to stay engaged. We feel blessed to be a part of a City and State where there is a growing commitment on the part of civic and community leaders to learn about diverse ethnic, cultural, and faith communities, and efforts to honor diversity, not as a politically correct thing to do, but as an act of faith. We applaud this spirit and are committed to doing our part to serve and enrich the City and State with our talents, heritage, experiences, and unbound excitement.

We are proud to see the results of our active and diverse involvements: greater appreciation and acceptance. We recognize that the young Sikh community has much to learn from generations of immigrants that came before us. We continue to identify with ideas that reinforce collective betterment, not those that emphasize our differences, and offer the best chance of building understanding and serving all citizens. We hope in time to earn a rightful place for our heritage, values, experiences, and pioneering energy in the emerging cultural and spiritual fabric of our City and our Nation. The Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis under the leadership of Jesse Lalli, Maninder Walia, Harpreet Sandhu, Narvinder Bhola, Avtar Singh, and others has made remarkable strides in that direction.



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