U.S. organization launches first-ever Sikh American PSA featuring Waris Ahluwalia to combat racism (with video)

Published: July 18, 2014

Sikh American designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia is featured in a Sikh American PSA. Screengrab/YouTube.

VANCOUVER DESI

An American Sikh organization has created the first-ever Sikh American public service announcement in an effort to combat an ongoing “anti-turban bias” across the United States.

According to a statement from the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF),  a 2013 study with Stanford University revealed that a number of “turban myths” still exist.

“Seventy per cent of respondents misidentified a Sikh in a dastar (turban) as Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Shinto instead of Sikh. Worse, 20 per cent of respondents said that when they encounter a stranger wearing a turban, they are more likely to become angry or apprehensive,” said SALDEF executive director Jasjit Singh, adding that the report proves “our neighbors still may not know us.”

In an attempt to address this “anti-turban bias,” SALDEF partnered with Eastward Films to create a PSA that features Sikh American actor and designer Waris Singh Ahluwalia.

In the ad, Ahluwalia introduces the Sikh American community who are “blazing new paths and contributing to their communities in exciting ways.”

According to Singh, Ahluwalia was the first person who came to mind when he began the project.

“We find him to be so successful in his career as an actor and designer because he so easily connects with any audience. He was very receptive to the project and for what it stood for. He’s been a great partner to us, and he is a strong ally to the greater Sikh American community,” Singh said in a release.

The PSA is scheduled to run until July 27 on cable channels on U.S. communications company Comcast, which has also donated $1 million to the project.

Watch the PSA here:

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