Leaders in Washington, Sikh Community Gather for First Langar

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