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Leaders in Washington, Sikh Community Gather for First Langar

To combat misperceptions against Sikh Americans, community leaders, for the first time, are hosting a traditional meal for members of Congress.
Image: The morning sun begins to rise behind the U.S. Capitol n Washington, DC.
The morning sun begins to rise behind the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.Getty Images file

In an effort to combat misperceptions of Sikh Americans, SALDEF’s SikhLEAD Internship Program will be hosting the country's first-ever langar -- a traditional, shared meal -- on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and their staff later today.

“While our community shares and represents America’s strongest values, including equality between the genders and economic classes and a belief in freedom for all,” said Jasjit Singh, Executive Director of Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), “Our neighbors still may not know us.”

Langar is a 500-year-old anti-segregation tradition in which everyone sits together without regard to caste, class, gender, or religion to share a simple vegetarian meal. Everyone sits at the same level as equals, and no one is turned away.

“Langar is a tradition that reflects Sikhism’s core tenant belief -– equality amongst all, regardless of background, education, gender, or race,” says Gurchit Singh Chatha, SikhLEAD Class of 2014. “It is an honor to share this tradition, which started as a revolution against oppressive traditions, with those who work to better the lives of all Americans.”

A langar held by the Sikh Student Association at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which fed 2,000 people and was the direct inspiration for today's Langar on the Hill.SALDEF

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