In his address to the Republican National Convention today, Ricky Gill, who we can only presume is a Sikh American running for Congress in California’s 9th Congressional District, passed on the unique opportunity to acknowledge our visible minority — whose recent turmoil in Oak Creek, Wisconsin occurred not a month ago — on the national stage.
Certainly, Gill’s primary concern should be to represent his district. No one can fault him for focusing on the issues of his geographical constituency. However, there is a glaring omission from his speech to the convention, and overall in the image he maintains publicly
In his speech, Gill disappointingly neglected to make any reference to his Sikh background, instead naming “India and Africa”. This follows a trend with Gill in that he has never openly acknowledged his Sikh faith, and instead, appears to make every effort to downplay this background. Despite this reluctance, the Sikh American community, which has become very topical given the mass shooting at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara earlier this month, has been one that Gill has solicited heavily for campaign donations. He comes from a Sikh family, and the district he seeks to represent contains the oldest Gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in the United States, in Stockton, California. The Central Valley of California is known for its large and historic Sikh American population.
The tragedy is, of course, that Sikhs in California who hope he would provide a voice for the community in the federal government have supported him significantly, but Gill fails to honor this moral contract. If we needed any evidence of Gill’s inability or unwillingness to be that representative, we now have it.
Gill is technically the first Sikh (again, an assumption) to address the Republican National Convention, having presented to the delegates one day before Ishwar Singh, the President of the Sikh Society of Central Florida, provides the Invocation tomorrow. It has actually been written in the media that Ishwar Singh is the first Sikh to address the Republican National Convention, and for all intents and purposes, and as far as Sikhs are concerned, I would acknowledge this to be the case.
Gill’s remarks to the Convention are available here, and quoted below.
Ricky Gill’s Convention Remarks
LODI, CA – Congressional candidate Ricky Gill today delivered the following remarks at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida:
My name is Ricky Gill, and I am humbled to stand before you today as a Republican nominee for Congress – and a proud son of California’s San Joaquin Valley.My parents immigrated to the Valley from India and Africa with only their love for each other, a strong work ethic, and the enduring desire to pursue their American Dream.We all work hard in the Valley, and we’re proud to live there. But today we face crippling unemployment and foreclosures-even the bankruptcy of Stockton, our largest city. Young people leave — or drop out of school to help their families make ends meet. Our friends and neighbors are suffering.But the Valley is a cautionary tale of failed policies, not false ambitions. No one in this country dreams of dependency; no one hopes for mediocrity. We are ready again to seize the measure of our ambitions – not because the government says we can, but because we believe we can.
We need a new generation of leadership to chart the path – to fight for policies that create jobs, rather than red tape — and to help small businesses succeed, rather than helping green energy companies fail.
Like you, we Valley folks are tough, independent, and faithful – and we are ready to rebuild our American Dream.
Thank you, and God Bless America.