Gurinder Khalsa receives Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award amidst thunder applause

Balbir Singh | January 19, 2019 01:07 PM

INDIANAPO: Indian-born American Sikh Gurinder Singh Khalsa was  presented the Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award. He was among the 16 Hoosiers who were given The Champions of Diversity Awards amidst thunderous applause at a glittering function  organized by Minority Business Magazine at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Downtown here on Thursday night.

Originally hailing from Ambala (Haryana) Gurinder Singh Khalsa, founder and chairman of SikhsPAC and SikhsMEDIA was presented the Distinguished 2019 Champions  of Diversity -Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award by State Representative of Indiana Robin Schackleford and Robert Shegog, vice president and chief operating officer at the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and Indiana Minority Business Magazine.
A large number of Sikh community members from Indiana attended the function and Gurinder Singh was given a standing ovation by the attendees. Gurinder Singh is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and leader in the Sikh community in Indiana.
The other 15 IMBM Champions of Diversity 2019 recipients were Indiana Market Manager for Community Development Banking at PNC Patricia Gamble-Moore, CEO and president of Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center, Richmond, Darrell R. Gordon, CEO of Edna Martin Christian Center and EMCC Holdings Tysha Hardy-Sellers. first female partner at the 137-year old Church, Hittle and Antrim Law Firm Leslie Craig Henderzahs, Regional vice-president, Central Region for Meijer Maureen Mitchell, Owner Oatts Trucking and Nubian Construction Group Nathan and Deborah Oatts, Chief of Police for Indianapolis Department (IMPD) Bryan Roach, Vice-president for Diversity, equity and Multicultural  Affairs, Dean of the University Graduate School and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership at Indiana University Wimbush James C. Wimbush, CEO of Eskenazi Medical Group and Associate Director of the Indiana University School of Medical Residency Training Programme Curtis Wright, Director of Engagement and Economic Empowerment for South Bend Alkeyna Aldridge, Founder of Unite Indy, which connects volunteers and experts to assist urban churches, ministries and other charities  Jim and Nancy Cotterill, First female president of Ivy Tech Community College Sue Ellspermann andpresident and CEO of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana 2010 Vanessa Allen-McCloud.

Speaking on this occasion, he said," Today, I am humbled  and honored to be the recipient 2019 Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award.  For the last 25 years I have been enjoying the American dream as a small business owner while practicing my faith. I am a proud American and I am an  American by choice. The question I get the most when meeting new people is about my turban and what it stands for. "Turban is a beacon of hope, safety, and security for others and I wear it proudly with dignity and respect to the God"

He recalled that  In 2007 he was denied from boarding my flight at the Buffalo Airport because he refused to removed his turban.
"I took this stand for all those who believe in religious liberty and freedom of faith. Tonight, this award is not about me.  Change does not exist without the support of a community.  I dedicate this award to more than 67,000 individuals from all walks of life across America, and to one of the largest Sikh advocacy group, Sikh Coalition. Without their countless efforts change in the TSA Turban policy would not exist," said Gurinder Singh Khalsa

"Now guess what ! A very young and talented lady, Jenna Ruiz was inspired by my story and based on this true incident wrote and directed the short film SINGH.  Please enjoy our trailer and thank you for this great honor and evening." concluded Gurinder Singh Khalsa.
IMBM, a sister publication of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, recognizes the valuable contributions of those who bring diverse values, backgrounds and abilities for the benefit of consumers and employers.
TV personality Ericka Flye and Rafel Sanchez (WRTV-6) were emcees (master of ceremonies). After the Flag Ceremony by Boy Scout Troop 123, Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Hogsett and Senior Vice-president -Community Development Director, First Financial Bank addressed the attendees. Invocation was done by Pastor Tony McGee, Senior Pastor, Zion Hope Church.
After award ceremony, Vice-president for Strategy and External Relations, Indiana Minority Business Magazine Jose Lusende made the closing remarks.

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