Sikh community holds open house to spread awareness, decrease hate
Posted June 26
GLENDALE, AZ — Members of the local Sikh community held an open house Sunday, as part of a national effort to help people get a better understanding of the religion.
"This place is called a gurdwara," said Harkanwal Singh Sachdev. "It is the Sikh place of worship. For lack of a better word, it is a temple, but we refer to it as a gurdwara in our community."
Sachdev said the gurdwara, located at 51st Avenue and the Loop 101 in Glendale, is also considered a community center. Sunday, they welcomed in the general public to share their religion.
"There's about 5,000 Sikhs that live here currently," Sachdev said. "We've been here well over 65 years."
There are 20 to 25 million Sikhs worldwide, Sachdev said. The Sikh religion is the fifth largest religion in the world.
"We share the same values and goals as everyone else, we're a peace-loving religion," Sachdev said.
At the end of every Sikh service, they serve a community meal called langar.
"Langar is coming together or everyone regardless of race, gender and social status, sitting on the floor, side by side, eating together and showing everyone is equal in the eyes of God," said Anjleen Kaur Gumer.
She said she hopes people walk away from their open house with a better understanding and a meaningful connection.
"They walk away with a Sikh friend today, and they walk away with a neighbor," Gumer said.
Unfortunately, the Sikh community has been a target for discrimination.
"The first hate crime that was a murder after 9/11 occurred here, on September 15, 2001," Sachdev said. "We're hopeful that ignorance is not the norm, and we know with a little bit of education, people will understand who we are."