April 2019: Sikh Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Sikhs have been living in the United States for more than 100 years, and during the early 20th century, thousands of Sikh Americans worked on farms, in lumber mills and mines, and on the Oregon, Pacific and Eastern Railroad; and,

WHEREAS, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, and, today, there are more than 30 million Sikhs worldwide and an estimated 500,000 Sikh Americans; and,

WHEREAS, Vaisakhi is one of the most historically significant days of the year for Sikhs and is celebrated on April 14, 2019; and,

WHEREAS, 2019 is the 550th birthday of the first of ten gurus and founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. This day is celebrated for Sikhs in Michigan and worldwide as Guru Nanak's Gurpurab and is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar; and,

WHEREAS, Sikh Americans pursue diverse professions and make rich contributions to the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of the United States, including service as members of the United States Armed Forces and significant contributions to our great nation in agriculture, information technology, small businesses, the hotel industry, trucking, medicine, and technology; and,

WHEREAS, Sikh Americans distinguished themselves by fostering respect among all people through faith and service; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to educating citizens about the world’s religions, the value of religious diversity, tolerance grounded in First Amendment principles, a culture of mutual understanding, and the diminution of violence; and,

WHEREAS, today, Michigan seeks to further the diversity of its community and afford all residents the opportunity to better understand, recognize, and appreciate the rich history and shared experiences of Sikh Americans;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim the month of April 2019 to be Sikh Awareness Month in Michigan.