Washington, January 19: For his glorious attempt in conserving pride and dignity for his community, Indian-American philanthropist and entrepreneur, Gurinder Singh Khalsa, has been presented with the prestigious Rosa Park Trailblazer award. Khalsa ran a campaign that forced US authorities change their policy towards headgear of the Sikh community.
45 years old Indianapolis based Khalsa was presented the award for his continued demonstration of courage and compassion. The award ceremony was attended by top State officials and eminent community leaders.
After getting refused access to board an airplane because of his turban in 2007, Khalsa dedicated himself to change the rules. He mobilised more than 67,000 people nationwide for petitions and took the issue all the way to the US Congress, which forced Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) to change its headgear policy towards the Sikh community.
Sikhs can now wear their turban through airport security in the US, is only a result of Khalsa’s efforts.
Khalsa, who also heads the Indiana-based Sikhs Political Affairs Committee now, narrated his story, “I was prevented from boarding the flight because I refused to remove my turban. I took this stand for all those who believe in religious liberty and freedom of faith”.
Dedicating his award to the Sikh community he said, “This award is not about me. Change does not exist without the support of a community. I dedicate this award to more than 67,000 individuals from all walks of life across America, and to one of the largest Sikh advocacy group, Sikh Coalition. Without their countless efforts change in the TSA Turban policy would not exist”.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill congratulated Khalsa saying, “Sometimes those who bravely protest for civil rights are stereotyped as somehow threatening figures - perhaps simply because of the raw courage required to fight for justice. But in the personalities of both Gurinder and Rosa, we see the great power of quiet resolve”.
Congratulating Khalsa, Indiana State Assembly Speaker Brian C Bosma also expressed, “on receiving the 2019 Rosa Parks Trailblazer award for his principled commitment to faith and his ‘pursuit of positive change’ that embodies the American principles of free speech and religious freedom”.