New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar are taking a stand against hate crimes targeting the Sikh community in the wake of recent incidents. Adams, speaking passionately at the Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Sikh Centre in Queens, sent a powerful message of solidarity, highlighting the importance of understanding the Sikh turban and Sikhism as symbols of faith, community, and protection, not terrorism.
In his address, Mayor Adams stated, “You are not about terror; you are about protector. That is what needs to be taught throughout this entire city. Our young people need to know that, our adults need to know that.” He stressed the need for education to dispel misconceptions surrounding Sikhs and their religious symbols. The turban, which is an integral part of Sikh identity, is often misunderstood, leading to unwarranted attacks and hate crimes.
Adams acknowledged the vital role of the Sikh community, describing them as an “anchor” in the Richmond Hill neighborhood. He emphasized that the turban represents unity, faith, and the coming together of communities. “We will change the dialogue and narrative with you. We can do it together,” Adams asserted, underlining his commitment to eradicating hate crimes against Sikhs.
Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Indian-American woman elected to the New York State Office, joined Mayor Adams in addressing the Sikh community. She passionately condemned the hateful targeting of Sikhs, emphasizing that this is not acceptable. Rajkumar pledged to use the power of government to put an end to hate crimes against Sikh Americans. She also vowed to educate the public about Sikhism, ensuring that Sikhs are no longer misunderstood or attacked.
Rajkumar, who referred to herself as a “daughter of Punjab,” expressed her deep connection to the Sikh community and the gurdwara where she had previously spoken out against hate crimes. However, she made it clear that this would be the last time she would stand there to address such issues. The time for change is now, as she and Mayor Adams are determined to end the hateful targeting of Sikhs.
The recent hate crimes against Sikhs have drawn attention to the urgent need for greater awareness and education. The assault on a 19-year-old Sikh boy and the tragic death of Jasmer Singh, a 66-year-old Sikh man, have left the community and the entire nation in shock. Mayor Adams rightly described the attack on Singh as a “violent senseless act” and mourned the loss of a man who should still be part of the community, watching his son pursue the American dream.
The actions and words of Mayor Adams and Assemblywoman Rajkumar reflect a united front against hate and prejudice. Their commitment to ending hate crimes, promoting understanding, and fostering a sense of unity among all communities is not only a commendable step forward but also a testament to the values of inclusivity and compassion that should define New York City and the nation as a whole. As the city and the Sikh community come together to stand against hate, there is hope for a brighter, more tolerant future.