Monday, 12 September 2005
28th Bhaadon (Samvat 537, Nanakshahi)
Baton Rouge, 11th Sep: The Sikh community of New Orleans gathered at the Gurudwara President Sumir Kaur's house, where the undamaged Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikh holy scriptures) has been placed after being retrieved from the hurricane-damaged Gurudwara Sahib New Orleans. Sikhs came to Baton Rouge to attend the deewan (congregation) from cities as far away as Houma, which is 100 miles from Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Walker, and Ponchatoula, to give thanks for their safekeeping and seek solace for the future.
Bhai Nachhatar Singh, the Gurudwara Secretary, addressed the congregation during the ceremony, stating "the unscathed Guru Granth Sahib ji, our Living Guru, proves that we all have been rescued. On behalf of the entire Sikh community worldwide, we thank the UNITED SIKHS, the team who promptly responded to the Sangat in this time of need".
Sumir Kaur, President of the Gurdwara, said " We are thankful to the energetic young Sikhs who are spreading the Sikhi values through action. They pulled their resources and contacts together and risked their lives for Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It was no short of a miracle. They had promised to do almost anything to help and are living up to their word".
Deewan started with reading verses of Sukhmani sahib, followed by Keertan (singing of hymns accompanied by music) by the local sangat, UNITED SIKHS members and Gurudwar Bhai Saheb Nirmal Singh.
Tarlok Singh, 51, said "I drove 100 miles with six other Sikhs to seek the blessings of Guru Sahib and share my happiness with friends. I tried to go to the Gurudwara after the Hurricane, but I was stopped by the National Guards on the highway".
UNITED SIKHS made another big stride today when it adopted a new shelter in Plaquemine, a city about 45 miles from Baton Rouge. Over 500 evacuees have been placed in the "Plaquemine civic center", where the team serve hot Ready-To-Eat meals to the survivors of the hurricane Katrina. The team spent a lot of time today meeting with the survivors and providing emotional and psychological support at the shelter. Tanmit Singh and Baldeep Singh Anand, are volunteers who will stay at the shelter to work with other relief organizations to provide the required help to the evacuees.
"We will continue to support and provide assistance to the Sikh community and all the affected people in New Orleans city. Our volunteer, Jaspreet Singh, is working closely with the different agencies and managing the desk with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) at their Baton Rouge headquarters. Volunteers with relief material and supply will continue to arrive at shelter homes in following weeks" said Kuldip Singh, Director, UNITED SIKHS.
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To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.
UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.
UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.
Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.
We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.