By Jack Mayne

The Burien City Council’s new majority apparently meant what it said about becoming more open to new audiences and groups when it declared April 14 as Sikh Heritage Day. The proclamation was accepted by Kent City Councilmember Satwinder Kaur, a noted Sikh leader.

The proclamation, read by Deputy Mayor Austin Bell, noted that Sikhism “is a religion founded in the Punjab region in India and was introduced to the United States in the 19th century,” and now has about 25 million adherents from “diverse backgrounds throughout the world, including 500,000 in the United States.”

“Vaisakhi is one of the most religiously significant days in Sikh history, commemorating the creation of the Khalsa, a fellowship of devout Sikhs, by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699” and Burien “seeks to recognize the diversity of its community and afford all residents the opportunity to better understand, recognize and appreciate the rich heritage and shared experiences.”

Kaur brought a contingent of Sikh members to the meeting and thanked the city for the honor of the proclamation and noted Sikhs have been in the northwest over 100 years “building railroads, working in the mines and working in the lumberyards – we’ve been here for a long time but people are just starting to notice us and we are trying to come out and tell a little bit about us and our temple in Renton,” the Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington that opened in 1993. Kaur invited people to contact her or other Sikhs if they wanted to visit the temple.

Below is a photo of the Proclamation: