American Sikh Council (ASC) exhibits at the American Legion National Convention, Milwaukee, WI Aug 26 – 30, 2022.

Sargun Kaur, Gurleen Kaur and Bhavneet Kaur with a veteran.

The American Sikh Council (ASC) led and participated in the American Legion Convention held at the Milwaukee Convention Center attended by over 8,000 veterans from across the nation.

This is part of an ASC led ongoing national initiative called, educate the educators. Volunteers from the Brookfield gurdwara and Oak Creek gurdwara graciously stepped up to help at the exhibit make the five-day event a great success.

There were over 100 booths exhibiting various products and services with many non-profits, but mostly catering to the veterans.

The ASC exhibit was focused on the hundreds of thousands of (Sikh) veterans who served in World War I and II. The exceptional history of Sikh American veterans is completely missing from the ‘war history in America’! ASC has worked for the last few years to change the current narrative and it is starting to make an impact on the national conscience, so that not just all veterans but the public at large is made aware of the phenomenal contributions made by the ‘turbaned Sikhs’ over the last 100+ years towards freedom, peace and liberty in the free world.

Abijot Singh, Dr. Swarnjit Singh, Japveer Singh, Raman Kaur, Bhavneet Kaur, Tarunbir Singh with a veteran.

Dr. Gurcahran Singh, Dr. Swarnjit Singh, Dr. Dalip Singh, Beant Singh, Aman Kaur, Abjijot Singh, Jasnoor Kaur, Kuldip Singh, Gurleen Kaur, Simranjeet Singh, Anup Singh, Japveer Singh, Sargun Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Jasneet Kaur, Navdeep Singh, Amandeep Kaur, Navtej Singh, Tarunbir Singh, Bhavneet Kaur, Jasdeep Singh, Ranjit Singh and Kavneet Singh interacted, discussed and disseminated literature to the veterans for five days.  Over 5,500 brochures were distributed.

All the volunteers answered questions, while conversing on various issues from the Sikh American participation in various theatres of war, to our history in America, while giving them multiple brochures about the, ‘Sikhs in World Wars, ‘Bullying of Sikh American Children’, ‘History of Sikh Americans’, ‘Sikhs and Scouts’, ‘The Battle of Saragarhi’, ’The Sikh Turban’, ‘Sustained Sikh Genocide 1984-1998’.  Additionally, several academic books about the Sikhs defending Europe and helping the Allies to win the two great World Wars were also displayed.

Kavneet Singh, Dr. Gurcharan Singh, Abhijot Singh and Dr. Swarnjit Singh at the exhibit.

The direct face to face conversations with most of the veterans is an extremely effective way to educate them about the Sikh valor, our values, how they were centuries ahead, yet perfectly aligned with the US constitution. One of America’s founding fathers, Patrick Henry’s stated on March 23, 1775 at a Virginia convention, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” The founder of the Sikh Religion – Guru Nanak Sahib resoundingly stated the same in the late 1400s recorded by him in the sacred Sikh scripture the Guru Granth Sahib and lived his entire life by standing up against all kinds of tyranny, while making positive change in society.

Bhavneet Kaur and Raman Kaur with a veteran at the ASC exhibit.

Some veterans at the convention stopped by at the booth to share their sorrow about the massacre in August 2012 at the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin where seven innocent Sikh Americans were shot and many injured. Others mentioned their positive interaction with Sikhs elsewhere. This year, several dozen veterans complimented us on opening their eyes about the awesome history dating back to the US Civil War. But most had sparing or no knowledge at all about the enormous Sikh participation in the many wars in the past 100 plus years. Many were in awe of the scale of sacrifices made by Sikh soldiers to defend Europe, America and freedom, which came at an incredible cost of over 83,000 killed and over 109,000 wounded; all with their turbans intact.

Kavneet Singh and Beant Singh with Lt. Gen. Piatt (US Army)

The Sikh exhibit was the topic of many evening conversations through the course of the event. American Sikh Council’s exhibit drew a lot of attention in the convention. Veterans TV which broadcasts across the nation, interviewed one of the volunteers at the Sikh exhibit on the last day of the convention.

Some of the veterans happily took pictures to post on social media reaching thousands across the country!

Kuldip Singh, Anup Singh and Kavneet Singh with a veteran.

Veterans TV which broadcasts across the nation, also interviewed one of the volunteers at the Sikh exhibit on the last day of the convention.

The Sikh American community of Milwaukee and particularly all those volunteers who are part of the Brookfield gurdwara cannot be thanked enough for their enthusiastic and sincere support to make the conference a memorable event, while a difference in lives of many.

The American Sikh Council (ASC) continues to educate the public about the Sikh American experience, because education must be sustained to bring about real understanding, mutual respect and peace among all citizens of this great land. 

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