Thousands of Sikhs and non-Sikh members of the public will come together at the Accesso Showare Center this Saturday, May 26 for the Khalsa Day Celebration and Parade, which will feature the singing of sacred hymns, langar (free community kitchen and food for everyone who attends), interfaith service projects, martial arts demonstrations and more.

People will gather at the Accesso Showare Center starting at 10 a.m., and the parade will start at 3 p.m.

This event is open to the public and FREE, and there will be food stalls in the west parking lot of ShoWare.

Sikhs have broken new ground by rising to political offices in Washington, from Manka Dhingra, the first Sikh elected to the state legislature, to Satwinder Kaur, who became the first Sikh City Council member in Kent. As local Sikh political engagement increases, cities and municipalities across the state have issued proclamations honoring the contributions of Sikh Americans over the last month. However, the current political and social climate continues to put Sikhs and other communities at great risk.

“Sikhs have been part of the fabric Washington state for over a century,” said Kent City Councilmember Satwinder Kaur. “While millions all over the world commemorate one of the most historically significant occasions for Sikhs in the spring called Vaisakhi, we are excited to come together for our 26th annual Khalsa Day Celebration and Parade.”

Kent was in the national spotlight last year when a gunman shot and injured a Sikh man in his own driveway while telling him, “go back to your own country.” Xenophobic targeting of immigrant communities is nothing new in America, and Sikhs have been subject to bigotry ever since the first Sikhs immigrated to America, including during the anti-Sikh mob violence in Bellingham, Washington in 1907.

In addition to Sikh officials and community leaders from across the state, non-Sikh political leaders will also participate in the event, including Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, U.S. Congressman Adam Smith and Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

“Sikhs Americans contribute immensely to Washington state, as innovative business owners, teachers, civic leaders and artists,” said U.S. Congressman Adam Smith. “The Sikh community is part of the great diversity that makes our community strong. I look forward to celebrating with my Sikh friends, neighbors and colleagues on Saturday.”

The Sikh Coalition is the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States, creating lasting impact in the courtroom, classroom, community, and halls of Congress.


Scott Schaefer

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