Sikhs distribute bicycles to underprivileged US children

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AMRITSAR: In another effort to break barriers between the Sikhs and other communities in the US, American Sikhs donated over a thousand bicycles to the underprivileged children in Fresno. "Over one thousand bicycles, 200 more than last year were collected, purchased and assembled by the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club of Fresno and donated to children," said Sikh activist Bill Singh Nijjer on Tuesday.

He said the Fresno chapter of 'We Are Sikhs' campaign, in a community cohesion effort, took part in the 19th Annual Fresno Hells Angels Toy Run at Chukchansi Park Field.

The National Sikh Campaign (NSC) ran nationwide TV ads 'We are Sikhs' as part of a wider project to make local communities aware about the distinct identity of the Sikhs, including their way of life, religion, and religious symbols.

Nijjer said, "We are proud to be part of this endeavor and we will continue to build bridges using the core principles of Sikhi: 'kirt karna' (honest livelihood) and vand chhakna (share with the needy). We are part of the community here in Fresno and we must stand with our neighbours."

Another Sikh activist Amritpal Singh said, "We are here as Sikhs of Guru Nanak, to serve those who are in need. As Americans and as Sikhs we must continue to serve our communities."

NSC founder Rajwant Singh said local Sikhs polled their resources together and paid for bicycles in an effort to show the 'generous and kind' side of the Sikhs who often become victims of mistaken identity.

He said there were about 50,000 Sikhs in Fresno and nearby areas. The polls after the ad campaign in Fresno showed a significant positive perception of the Sikhs. "Fifty nine percent of Fresno residents, a clear majority, say they know at least something about Sikhs who live in America while 68% saw Sikhs as good neighbours and 64% saw Sikhs as generous and kind," he said.

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