Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sahib, Olathe, KS participates in the Johnson County Old Settlers Fair!

Exhibit and langar set up by the Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sahib, Olathe, KS

The Kansas City metro area Sikh Sangat volunteers of the Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sahib, Olathe, KS set up an exhibit and a food stall at one of the largest county fairs in the nation for the fourth time.

The ‘Johnson County (KS) Old Settlers Fair’ is held annually, and around 100,000+ people attended over a period of three days from September 8 – 10, 2022. Sikhs from Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sahib spent three days in Olathe, Kansas educating locals about Sikh Americans and their contributions to our nation. The exhibit was open from 10 am to 8 pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Sikhs from the Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Sahib spent three days in Olathe, Kansas educating local Kansans about Sikh Americans and their contributions to our nation. The exhibit was open from 10 am to 8 pm.

Sikh American (school) children in turbans get bullied between two to three times the national average according to federal government data and various Sikh American advocacy organizations. Adult Sikh American turbaned men and women get the brunt of being otherized at a much higher rate than any other minority group across the nation. According to the American Sikh Council (ASC), one Sikh American man has been either seriously assaulted or murdered every month since the former President started running for the highest elected office. This is one reason why Sikh Americans are holding these ‘exhibits’ to reduce and ratchet down the hate-mongering through a face-to-face interactive education at ‘exhibits’ such as this one.

Hundreds of brochures were distributed, which included, History of Sikh Americans, The Sikh Turban, Sikhs and Scouts, Bullying of Sikh American Children, Sikhs in World Wars, The Battle of Saragarhi, etc.

Free vegetarian food, bottled water and juice was distributed all day from 8 am to 9 pm, to those attending the fair while explaining the concept of langar (free community kitchen), equality and the Sikh way of life.

Dastaars were showcased for those who wanted to experience what it felt like to walk in our shoes! Volunteers explained what the turban/dastaar represents and how the fundamentals of love, unity, equal rights, social justice, women equality and social activism are at the core of the Sikh ideology and way of life. These attributes are something which all Americans respect and understand as the basis of the American constitution.

Sikhs of Olathe, KS participating in the parade with their float of the Darbar Sahib

Many of volunteers explained to the public about the involvement of Sikhs in the US armed forces and the service of the hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in the previous two World Wars. They also answered questions about the Sikh way of life and the distinct Sikh identity.

Since the local Gurdwara is within the fairgrounds a few members invited visitors interested in visiting a Gurdwara on a short tour for those who were curious and interested to learn further and experience a divan (congregational prayer in session).

On Saturday September 10, 2022 approximately 50,000 attended the Old Settlers Parade between 9 am – 1 pm. The local Sikhs participated in the parade with gusto, which included children and adults performing Gatka (the Sikh Martial Art) in association with World Gatka Federation. The local Gurdwara contingent was so impressive that the organizers of the fair honored the Sikhs with a, 3rd place ribbon for their wonderful float out of over 150 different floats. The Kansas Sikhs not only had their own float in this parade, but showcased multiple parts of their heritage to thousands attending this event along the parade route.

The American Sikh Council (ASC) wants to congratulate the Sikhs from Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sahib and Kansas City for this wonderful sewa to highlight Sikhi and hope they will continue to keep up the positive work into the future.

Young Sikh American performing Gatka at the parade

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