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Pictures by Maninder Walia.


We were very excited to recently welcome Ms. Melina Kennedy, a local attorney and former Indianapolis Deputy Mayor under Mayor Bart Peterson, now running for the office of Prosecutor of Marion County, to The Sikh Temple on Acton Road in Indianapolis. Ms. Kennedy attended the worship service and stayed for the traditional Langar (community meal). Ms. Kennedy was accompanied by her friend and advisor Ms. Sarah Riordan.

Ms. Kennedy was welcomed by the Harpreet Sandhu, President and Maninder Walia, the Trustee of The Sikhs Satsang of Indianapolis. Giani Pritam Singh, the head Granthi (priest) of the Satsang (congregation) presented Ms. Kennedy with a traditional Punjabi shawl following her remarks to the congregation of several hundred in attendance. KP Singh introduced the special guest and gave an overview of the Sikh faith, tradition, and the universal spirit of equality, justice, and basic dignity of all living beings and sanctity of all faiths as enshrined in the Sikh sacred scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib.

(L to R) Narvinder Bhola, Kulbir Singh, Melina Kennedy, Baljit Oberoi

(L to R) Narvinder Bhola, Melina Kennedy, Sarah Riordan, KP Singh

Melina Kennedy sitting in the congragation at the Sikh Temple

Ms. Kennedy's gracious and thoughtful remarks, displayed uncommon cultural sensitivity and openness of spirit, friendliness and willingness to interact with members of the Sikh congregation greatly impressed the audience. She was very reassuring that all communities and the changing and emerging fabric of diverse cultures and faiths matter and represent a rich asset to the Hoosier State. Ms. Kennedy added that for her public service is about serving all people, contributing to their safety and well-being, and creating and providing equal opportunities and protection under the Indiana laws and the U.S. Constitution.

Melina Kennedy receives Shawl from Giani Pritam Singh, Harpreet Sandhu in the background

(L to R) Melina Kennedy in the Temple Langar Hall

A Prosecutor as a law enforcement leader over 168 deputies is responsible for the prosecution of all crimes in Marion County. Ms. Melina Kennedy promised to wage an aggressive war against crime and especially target the worst of the worst and keep them off the streets of Indianapolis and Marion County and strengthen and support community policing efforts. The Mid-term U.S. election are traditionally set for the first Tuesday in November.

The visit of Ms. Kennedy and other distinguished leaders is especially important in light of horrific events of 9/11 that have caused special hardships to Sikh Americans, Middle Eastern Arabs, and Muslims living in many American cities. We consider such visits and contact as a vital component of community building and discovering our own individual and collective potential as Sikhs settle in their new environment.

(L to R) Melina Kennedy, KP Singh, Avtar Singh

The leadership of the Sikh Satsang has been working very hard to build new briges to the larger community, closely work with other faiths, schools, civic leaders, and interface our activities with other organizations for the greater benefit of the Sikh Americans and all Hoosiers. The focus of this effort is learning and education: to know and understand community resources, civic responsibilities, and our rights as Sikh Americans; dispel ignorance, stereotypes and unfounded perceptions; address mistaken identity, harassment, and job discrimination issues; and encourage Hoosier Sikhs to mainstream our own energy, talents and investments. Sikh Americans are beginning to understand that we need to be on the frontline of this effort to be responsible and informed Americans and citizens of the countries where we live. Sikh Americans are engaged in many imaginative and innovative ways to assure their rightful place and are creating opportunities to serve the lands and communities that are their new "home" and enhancing the cause of peace and goodwill towards all as an affirmation of their faith, tradition, spirit and culture.

Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA