American Turban

President Obama cites Dalip Singh Saund, first Sikh and Asian-born Congressman, as ‘trailblazer’

Dalip Singh Saund, First Asian-born US Congressman, 1957-1963 (photo: saund.org)

Dalip Singh Saund, First Asian-born US Congressman, 1957-1963 (photo: saund.org)

At the recent Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies gala in Washington, DC on Tuesday, President Obama acknowledged ceiling-shattering Americans of Asian descent who were elected to federal office. Among these, the President specifically recognized Dalip Singh Saund, who was the first Asian-born and only Sikh to serve in Congress:

“They were trailblazers like Dalip Singh Saund – a young man from India who, in 1920, came to study agriculture, stayed to become a farmer, and took on the cause of citizenship for all people of South Asian descent,” he said at the 18th Annual Gala for the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Tuesday in Washington.

Further, the President issued a challenge to follow in these trailblazers’ footsteps:

So tonight, we honor the trailblazers who came before. But we also celebrate the leaders yet to come — all the young people who are here tonight. (Applause.) Together, it’s our turn to be responsible for the future. It’s our turn to make sure the next generation has more opportunities than we did. It’s our turn to make sure that no matter who you are, no matter where you came from, no matter what you look like, America forever remains the place where you can make it if you try.

In this election cycle, with several Sikh candidates running for office (see here and here), I hope we see these individuals rise to this challenge.

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