FRESNO, Calif. — After multiple attacks against Sikh community members in recent years,
the Fresno Sikh community is launching a new campaign to teach residents about their religion.
The Sikh community announced their new initiative called “We Are Sikhs” at Fresno City Hall on Thursday.
It is all about spreading awareness about the Sikh religion and its members.
Sukhbir Bhanbal has owned the Valero gas station on 6th and Shaw with his brother for five years.
“My customers are like friends and family to me and we have a really good relationship,” said Bhanbal.
While some of his customers are family, he and other Sikhs said many in the community label Sikhs as terrorists because of the turban their religion requires them to wear.
“Most of the fellow Americans do not know what the turban symbolizes,” said Bhanbal.
Sikhs said the turban is a symbol for equality and justice.
The Fresno Sikh community launched a new campaign with city officials called “We Are Sikhs” at City Hall on Thursday.
“We are not a threat, we are not foreigners, we are Americans. Some of us are born here and raised here,” said Sharnjit Purewal, Sikh Council of Central California.
The “We Are Sikhs” initiative will feature local commercials focusing on Sikh American values.
Campaign organizers said the idea for the commercials came after attacks against the Sikh community following 9/11.
In Fresno, Sikhs have faced hate crimes in recent years. In 2015 a Sikh man was attacked and hit by a car and in 2016 a a Sikh store clerk was murdered.
The “We Are Sikhs” Fresno will start airing the commercials on Friday and they will run throughout the month.