He said Baisakhi is officially April 13, but it is sometimes celebrated on Easter Sunday in Los Angeles, when Sikhs from throughout Southern California and other parts of the country gather at the Convention Center. Baisakhi and Easter are both holidays of rebirth and renewal of the spirit, he said. Sikh leaders say there have been hundreds of documented hate crimes against their followers since the 9-11 attacks, including the murder of an Arizona Sikh who was gunned down within days of the 2001 attacks. Police say assailants have mistaken Sikhs, who wear turbans, for Muslims. Congressman Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, who joined the festivities, decried the violence against Sikhs. “It’s bigotry wrapped in ignorance,” said Sherman, who is advocating new federal legislation to increase penalties for hate crimes. PHOTO GALLERY: Baisakhi Celebration More than 10,000 people celebrated the Sikh religious holiday of Baisakhi Sunday and denounced a series of hate crimes against the sect following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Sikhs shared food, music and art in the Los Angeles Convention Center and later paraded through the streets of downtown, singing prayers as they marched behind a dozen colorful floats. “We are trying to draw all the religious communities together to communicate better,” said Nirinjan Singh Khalsa, executive director of the California Sikh Council and a member of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission. Further highlighting the need for more understanding, two non-Sikh men attending another event near the Convention Center on Sunday quipped that the Sikh gathering looked like “an al-Qaida convention.” Sikhism, whose followers practice the pursuit of salvation through disciplined meditation, started in India hundreds of years ago. Kirtan Singh Kahlsa, the program director of the Baisakhi celebration, said the religion stresses love, equality and tolerance. He added that support from Sherman and other officials was invaluable. “It’s important for people to understand that if they see a turban (in the United States), it’s a 99 percent chance it’s a Sikh,” he said. “The origin of the Sikh religion is in India, both philosophically and geographically a long way from everything that is going on in the Middle East.” A recent hate crime occurred on March 13 in Redding, Calif., where a man rammed a piece of heavy equipment repeatedly into a new Sikh temple, allegedly telling police he thought the Sikhs were Arabs. The Rev. Leonard B. Jackson, an adviser to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, praised L.A.’s diversity. “Los Angeles is the only city in the nation where you can celebrate Easter at a sunrise service, then celebrate Baisakhi in the afternoon and go to a Greek festival in the evening. “I love L.A,” Jackson said. “Diversity is what makes L.A. great.” [email protected] (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
The Minister’s remarks were delivered by Executive Director of the WCJF, Dr. Zoe Simpson, during a recent ceremony at the entity’s Trafalgar Road headquarters in St. Andrew to hand over 10 copies of a book titled ‘Triumphs’ to the girls. Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the programme of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) is a story of “triumph”, enabling girls who drop out of school on account of pregnancy to continue their education.“Through the work of the WCJF, over 47,000 adolescent mothers have triumphed over their circumstances,” she said.The Minister’s remarks were delivered by Executive Director of the WCJF, Dr. Zoe Simpson, during a recent ceremony at the entity’s Trafalgar Road headquarters in St. Andrew to hand over 10 copies of a book titled ‘Triumphs’ to the girls.The book, written by journalist Garfield Angus, is a gift from law firm Lex Caribbean Jamaica. It is a collection of short stories about personal struggles and victories.Minister Grange said she is happy for the donation at a time when the Centre celebrates its 40th anniversary. The WCJF was established in 1978 as a response to the high rate of adolescent pregnancies in Jamaica.Dr. Simpson, in her own remarks, said that the inspirational stories contained in the book will help to foster a spirit of resilience and motivate the reader to push on to success.“The adolescent mothers are faced with challenges of their own. I am, therefore, delighted that the girls will be able to benefit from the publication that will motivate them to overcome their challenges,” she noted.She added that the stories are positive reminders that “just like Martin in the ‘Hard Road to Success’, Jamaicans do not succumb to adverse situations, but, instead, just like Antoinette in ‘Life without Dependency’, we work hard and remain determined to live out our dreams”.Dr. Simpson thanked the author of the book and Lex Caribbean for making the donation possible.“We all need inspiration in our lives to help us understand and maximise our full potential,” she said. “Through the work of the WCJF, over 47,000 adolescent mothers have triumphed over their circumstances,” she said. Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the programme of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) is a story of “triumph”, enabling girls who drop out of school on account of pregnancy to continue their education. Story Highlights