New York – Thousands of Sikhs in the US have participated in the annual Sikh Day Parade’ in the heart of Manhattan here, spreading awareness about the faith amid incidents of hate crimes against the minority community. Men, women and children, dressed in their traditional finery, turned out in large numbers for the 31st Sikh Day Parade’ on Saturday, inundating Manhattan with a sea of turbans. The parade included live music, dance, performances by children, marching bands, display of Sikh martial arts, decorated floats as well as culinary offerings as participants marched down several blocks along Manhattan’s Madison Avenue. New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S Bhalla attended the parade. O’Neill said it was an honour for him to take part in the parade. “As our great city grows more diverse, we’re committed to making sure the #NYPD does, too. The best way to serve all neighbourhoods is to ensure every community is represented within our department. Public safety will always be a shared responsibility,” O’Neill tweeted. Sikhs of NY co-founder Chanpreet Singh said members of his team did “sewa” at the “langar” of the parade, referring to theSikh practice of community kitchens and offering free food to people. “Such events help in creating awareness about the Sikh culture and how it is accepting of other faiths and traditions, ” Singh said. According to Sikh rights group Sikh Coalition, following the 9/11 attacks, Sikhs remain hundreds of times more likely to be targeted in cases of profiling, bigotry and backlash than others.
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