kirpanThe California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee unanimously passed a bill that would create greater awareness and understanding of the Sikh community in that state. The bill would require law enforcement personnel to receive training about the kirpan, the symbolic sword that members of the Sikh faith carry.

According to the Sikh Coalition: “This good news comes just days before we celebrate the 310th anniversary of Vaisakhi – the day the Sikh community was given our identity, Tuesday’s vote marks a significant step towards creating an environment where Sikhs can practice our faith with respect and dignity in California.”

Before we get too excited, there are many more hurdles for this bill to cross before it becomes law, but the unanimous vote it received in the Public Safety Committee is heartening. Also encouraging is the strenght of support from Sikhs in California – the community sent over 300 letters to members of the committee before the vote.

In addition to the Sikh Community, a number of diverse groups are supporting this bill, including: The South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, CAIR-California, Asian Americans for Civil Rights & Equality, and Cal State-Bakersfield’s Department of Sociology/Anthropology.

We will keep you updated on the progress of this important bill!

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