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WHEREAS, Sikhs have been living in the United States for more than 100 years, and during the early 20th century, thousands of Sikh Americans worked on farms, in lumber mills and mines, and on the Oregon, Pacific, & Eastern Railroad; and
WHEREAS, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, and there are more than 30 million Sikhs worldwide and an estimated 250,000 Sikh Americans; and
WHEREAS, Sikh Americans pursue diverse professions, and make rich contributions to the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of the United States, including service as members of the United States Armed Forces and significant contributions to our great nation in agriculture, information technology, small businesses, hotel industry, trucking, medicine, and technology; and
WHEREAS, Sikh Americans distinguished themselves by fostering respect among all people through faith and service; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a significant population of Sikhs, and is committed to respecting the heritage and religions of our diverse community; and
WHEREAS, Virginia is committed to educating citizens about the world’s religions, the value of religious diversity, tolerance grounded in First Amendment principles, a culture of mutual understanding, and the diminution of violence; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia seeks to further the diversity of its community and afford all Virginians the opportunity to better understand, recognize, and appreciate the rich history and shared experiences of Sikh Americans;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 2018 as SIKH AWARENESS AND APPRECIATION MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.