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Rose Parade to feature Sikh-American float for the first time in its 126 year history

 Los Angeles, Jan 01, 2014
NRIpress-Club/LA Team

First Ever Sikh American Float was included at the 2015 Pasadena Rose Parade


 Each New Year's Day, the world focuses its attention on Pasadena, California, USA, home of the Rose Parade- a festival of flowers, music and sports unequaled anywhere else in the world.On Jan 01, 2015, the 126th Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed “Inspiring Stories,” will feature floral floats, spirited marching bands. The 5.5 miles  Rose Parade route began  at the corner of Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena. The parade traveled  north on Orange Grove at a leisurely 2 1/2-mile per hour pace and then turns east onto Colorado Boulevard, where the majority of the parade viewing takes place. Near the end of the route, the parade turned north onto Sierra Madre Boulevard and concludes at Villa Street.

Members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club first staged the parade in 1890. Since then the parade has been held in Pasadena every New Year's Day. The Rose Parade is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route.  It is seen by millions more on television worldwide in more than 100 international territories and countries.

The late Louis Zamperini was the Grand Marshall of this years parade. Zamperini, who is the subject of the Angelina Jolie-helmed movie "Unbroken," was a USC and Olympic track star who survived 47 days at sea after his plane crashed in World War II and then endured two years as a prisoner of war.

The parade featured 41 floats, 20 bands and 18 equestrian units with approximately 400 horses. More than 70,000 elevated Rose Parade grandstand seat tickets  cost from $58 to $95 per person via Sharp Seating Company.


This year, three new floats  were added in Rose Parade 2015:

  1. The Bachelor” celebrated the show’s 19th season with a float in the 126th Rose Parade
  2. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation float was honoring first responders including two doctors who passed away while treating Ebola in Africa
  3. First Ever Sikh American Float was included at the 2015 Pasadena Rose Parade
    According  to NRIpress-Club media news report, the Sikh community of Southern California, including United Sikh Mission,  SELDEF,  SikhLens,  Khalsa Care Foundation  and  Gurdwaras  organized  the event by raising the funds of more than $250,000 to build this new float.

“Sikh Americans have been in the United States for over 125 years, first settling in California and the Pacific Northwest,” said Jasjit Singh. “The float pays tribute to this heritage and the community’s contributions to American society. The first structure on the float is of the Stockton Gurdwara, the first Sikh house of worship that was established in the United States, 102 years ago. The cornucopia and the locomotive represent Sikh Americans who were laborers and farmers in 1903. The peaches represent the biggest peach grower in the nation, who is a Sikh

 The purpose of the float is that  the million viewers who see the parade will see the Sikh community at the Rose Parade and walk away with a positive feeling about their Sikh neighbors.

We just like to send a message worldwide, “who we are”…..

According to Kushwant Singh, when "In 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur was summoned to Delhi, he went as a protector of the Kashmiri Hindu community and encourage them to stand against the increasing oppression of the Mughals. He requested Aurangzeb to plead against their forceful conversion. Aurangzeb asked Guru Tegh Bahadur to convert and had him executed after he refused to convert to Islam. His son, Guru Gobind Singh ji  who succeeded him as Guru later described his father's martyrdom as in the cause of the humanity.

Sikhism also highlights women's dignity and empowerment by giving them the same privileges as given to men.. The Sikh Gurus opposed this and allowed every person to visit the temple (Grurdwara) and perform religious practices irrespective of their castes or sex or religion.

“In 2012, a shooter killed six Sikh worshipers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconson, USA. Later turning the gun on himself,”  said  Jasjit Singh of the Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund (SALDEF) which is also working on the float, along with SikhLens and Khalsa Care Foundation. "It really brought to light the fact this lack of awareness is more than just a minor inconvenience.”

This kind of  killings revived bitter memories of the period just after the Sept. 11 attacks when Sikhs distinctive turbans and beards seemed to trigger harassment and violence by people who wrongly assumed that they were militant Muslims……The New York Times

Jasjit Singh further said that we are honored to announce that Comcast has increased its donation towards SALDEF’s first-ever Sikh American commercial to a total of  two  million dollars in airtime. This is an unprecedented investment made into introducing the Sikh American identity across the United  States. The 30-second TV spot has aired in 39 states and Washington, D.C., in the last week, and viewers saw it while watching CNBC, A&E, TNT, VH1, Fox, and more.

Jasjit  said prominent, younger Sikh-Americans are taking a more active role in speaking out about their experience. Take the P.S.A.’s narrator – Waris Singh Ahluwalia. He’s a designer and actor, who's appeared in Wes Anderson films and a Gap campaign. Cartoonist Vishavjit Singh made headlines this year walking around New York as Captain America.
“I have been called Osama bin Laden walking down the street, because in the popular imagination a turban is associated with bin Laden and Al Qaeda,” said Prabhjot Singh, who works in the high-tech industry near San Francisco.
"Very few people know who we are," said Dhindsa, who owns a trucking company. "We love this country. And all of us work hard to make this country strong."….. scpr

“NRI Sikh-American history was rarely discussed in school when I grew up in Los Angeles. I remember NRI Sikh farmers were briefly mentioned  in Sacrament/Yuba City news papers about their success stories and hard work,” said Devinder  Singh. “

The Rose Parade started 8:00 a.m. and  finished around 10.30am