The SikhsPAC has been launched to promote Sikh cultural awareness in the classroom.
The SikhsPAC has been launched to promote Sikh cultural awareness in the classroom.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — An Indiana businessman has launched SikhsPac, a new action committee he hopes will result in politicians promoting Sikh identity in school curriculum.

The pac was launched by Indian-American real estate broker and investor Gurinder Singh Khalsa on Aug. 31, at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis, Indiana. Both of Indiana’s gubernatorial candidates – Republican Eric Holcomb, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, and Democrat John Gregg, former State House Speaker – attended the launch party. Additionally, both candidates running for state attorney general were present, along with Glenda Ritz, Indiana State Superintendent of Schools.

“Since 9/11, Sikhs have been the targets of violence. And the violence is growing because people don’t understand who Sikhs are,” said Khalsa. He added that Sikh culture is not represented in school curriculums or is often misrepresented as an offshoot of Hinduism.

Khalsa wants Sikh identity and culture known to school kids via the classroom and the texts they study. He is aiming to forward that goal by capturing the ear of politicians.

“Lots of identity organizations have sprung up in the aftermath of 9/11, but they are not sustainable, as they are non-profit organizations which cannot support candidates or parties. We cannot ignore the role of politics in creating sustainable change,” he said.

Since its launch just six weeks ago, the political action committee has already collected pledges of $500,000, Khalsa said. Those monies will be distributed equally among the gubernatorial candidates, he said. It aims to be non-partisan and will fund any candidate who embraces the SikhsPAC mission, according to Khalsa – and to other candidates running for statewide office in Indiana.

Khalsa, who is from Haryana and grew up in Chandigarh, said the SikhsPAC model will be replicated in several states over the coming months, including California, Washington, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

Ultimately, Khalsa hopes the PAC will raise $5 million before the next presidential election in 2020, with the hopes it will gain enough traction to influence candidates at the national level.

“This is the beauty of America. If something needs to be changed, people can make it happen,” said Khalsa.