What: Celebrate the achievements of the community through inspiring presentations, music, and food.
When: September 23, 2023 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Where: McGavick Conference Center, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (425) 894-3442 for more information.
Iqwinder Singh Gaheer
From Immigrant Roots to Influential Lawmaker
Iqwinder Singh Gaheer, a Canadian politician with humble beginnings, represents the Mississauga—Malton constituency in the House of Commons of Canada, a position he secured in the 2021 Canadian federal election.
Born in Punjab, India, to a construction worker and homemaker, Gaheer's family immigrated to Canada in 1999 when he was six. His early years, spent in a small village in Punjab and working on his father’s plumbing crew during summers, fueled a story that resonates deeply with many Canadians. Gaheer is a proud alumnus of Bramalea Secondary School in Brampton, Schulich School of Business, York University, and Harvard Law School. At Harvard, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal.
Following his educational pursuits, Gaheer worked in the litigation department of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a leading international corporate law firm, in New York City. His journey from immigrant roots to influential lawmaker provides an inspiring story of determination and success.
A Pioneer of Rights and Equality
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal represents Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and surrounding areas including Shoreline, Vashon Island, Lake Forest Park, Edmonds and parts of Burien and Normandy Park.
The first Indian-American woman in the House of Representatives, Jayapal has spent the last twenty years working internationally and domestically as a leading national advocate for women’s, immigrant, civil, and human rights. She attended Georgetown University and later received her MBA from Northwestern University. She has worked in a number of industries in both the public and private sector.
Her focus is on ensuring income equality; access to education, from early learning to higher education, including debt-free college; expanding Social Security and Medicare; protecting our environment for our next generation; and ensuring immigrant, civil and human rights for all.
A Champion Advocate and Lawmaker
Senator Manka Dhingra is the first Sikh to be elected to Washington State Senate. She was elected to represent the 45th legislative district, on Seattle's Eastside in King County.
Manka founded the woman's advocacy organization API Chaya in 1996, and later worked under several elected officials at the state level. She worked in the offices of state Supreme Court justice Barbara Madsen and the Attorney General Christine Gregoire, while earning a degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1999. She joined the King County Prosecuting Attorney's office in 2000 and has led the department's expanding mental health and veterans courts.
To reform and improve our criminal justice system, Manka has worked with State Department of Social and Human Services, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, legislators, and the Governor’s office to ensure individuals get the treatment they need to return to being productive members of our community.
Paramjit Kaur Khalra
A Steadfast Advocate for Truth and Justice
Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra, commonly known as Bibi Khalra, is renowned for her relentless quest for justice following the fake encounter of her husband, social activist Sardar Jaswant Singh Khalra. Jaswant Singh Khalra during the 1990s started systematically finding evidences regarding the killing of Sikh youth by the Punjab police in fake encounters . His research of 'unclaimed bodies' in cremation grounds uncovered 25,000 illegal killings. For his work for human rights and his advocacy for the rights of victims families, he was picked from his house on September 6, 1995, and was killed on October 27 by the police.
A prominent figure arising from the turbulence in Punjab post the 1984 incidents, Bibi Khalra has steadfastly maintained that her husband's encounter was staged. Her tireless pursuit of truth and justice transcends personal loss, contributing significantly to the discourse on human rights in the region. Reflecting her commitment to societal justice, Bibi Khalra was nominated for the 2022 Punjab Election from Khadoor Sahib, signaling her intention to impact change at a wider level and continue her husband's legacy of activism.
Baltej Singh Dhillon
Trailblazing Law Enforcement Officer and Community Leader
Baltej Singh Dhillon is a renowned retired police officer and an influential community figure, acclaimed for being the first turbaned Sikh officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Born in Malaysia in 1966, Dhillon moved to Canada in 1982 and studied criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Joining the RCMP in 1988, his career spanned over 30 years and included intelligence, special enforcement, protection services, and investigations. Notably, he was part of the task force that investigated the 1985 Air India bombing.
In 1991, Dhillon's groundbreaking challenge to the RCMP's dress code, which prohibited turbans, was successful, cementing his place in history as the first turbaned Sikh RCMP officer. Now retired from the RCMP, Dhillon serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for WorkSafeBC. His dedication to public service has earned him recognition as a Member of the Order of British Columbia, and he has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals for community service. Dhillon's extraordinary journey is a testament to his commitment to his faith and service, inspiring minority communities in Canada and demonstrating that one can uphold their religious beliefs while achieving career success. His narrative is an embodiment of the possible when resilience, dedication, and principle converge.
Sukhmeet Singh Sachal
Social Entrepreneur and Public Health Activist
Sukhmeet Singh Sachal is a globally recognized social entrepreneur, public health activist, and an emerging leader in Canada. His mission revolves around connecting youth on a global scale to tackle climate change and mental health issues, and devising culturally sensitive public health interventions in South Asian communities.
An example of his work is the Sikh Health Foundation, a charity he founded that successfully utilized a culturally-effective approach to raise COVID-19 awareness. He is deeply committed to bridging divides, transforming public health policy, and fostering an informed, healthy, and inclusive society. He is also the co-founder of Break The Divide Foundation, an international organization which connects youth globally with one another to discuss climate change and mental health, and drive local solutions to global problems.
Sukhmeet has been named as one of Canada’s Emerging Leaders, and recently honoured as one of ten COVID-19 Commonwealth Youth Heroes.
A Bold Mompreneur Shaping a Safer World for Sikh Kids
Tina Singh, an occupational therapist, is a passionate parenting content creator and mompreneur who leverages her platform to address challenges within the parenting and Sikh community.
Seven years ago, she embarked on a journey to share her experiences in motherhood and has since continually adapted to the evolving needs of her audience, all while prioritizing her role as a mother. Identifying a gap in the market for Sikh children who struggle to find helmets that fit over their patkas, Singh saw an opportunity to offer a solution. This personal struggle led her to create Bold Helmets, designed to provide a safety solution for her three sons and others who wear patkas. In addressing this unique challenge, Singh demonstrates her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to ensuring the safety and inclusivity of Sikh children.
Palvir Kaur Baadh
Championing the Quest for Global Health Equity
Hailing from Jalandhar, India, and growing roots in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Palvir Kaur Baadh’s journey to becoming an impactful community figure is truly inspiring. After a rigorous academic journey through the University of Akron, Cleveland State University, and Northeast Ohio Medical University, she now serves as a Resident Physician in Internal Medicine at Akron City Hospital Summa Health System.
Yet, her passion extends beyond the hospital walls, deeply ingrained within the community that nurtured her. She pays it forward through her non-profit, Project Kaur Foundation, working tirelessly to alleviate local homelessness and hunger. The organization stands as a beacon of understanding, kindness, and peace, powered by a robust network of volunteers and generous donors. Palvir’s conviction in the philosophy of ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ is evident in her endeavors. She has extended her compassionate reach to far-off places like Ecuador and Kenya, aiding underserved communities medically and promoting goodwill. Yet, she remains equally committed to serving her Northeast Ohio community and pushing the boundaries of global health equity.
Sharanjeet Singh Mand
An Innovator in Indian Classical Music
Sharanjeet Singh Mand, a disciple of the esteemed Pandit Harvinder Sharma, is an internationally celebrated sitarist known for his distinctive style and contributions to the Ustad Vilayatkhani Gharana, a highly respected discipline of sitar playing. His recognition includes being named one of CBC's "30 under 30 Classical Musicians," marking a historic milestone as the first non-western classical musician on the list.
Known for his captivating performances and mastery of the Gayaki Ang style, Sharanjeet has captivated audiences across India, Canada, and the USA. In addition to performing at prestigious stages worldwide, including for the Prime Ministers of India and Canada, Sharanjeet is also a respected educator, guest lecturing at institutions like the University of British Columbia and Douglas College, and teaching at Place Des Arts, one of Canada's oldest arts academies. As the first Indian Classical musician to perform a solo concert for the Juno Awards in 2018, Sharanjeet consistently breaks barriers. His versatility extends to western classical music, with successful collaborations and innovative compositions like 'Ave Maria' for sitar. His commitment to preserving and promoting Indian Classical Music shines through his roles as a TV and radio host and his engagement in numerous community programs.