See Portraits of Sikh-American Men and Women Embracing Their Individual Turban Style

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Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

On Saturday, the Sikh Coalition will open a photo exhibit called the Sikh Project, featuring 20 portraits of Sikh-American men and women embracing their turban style. Sapreet Kaur, the executive director of the Sikh Coalition, told the Cut of the project, “Sikhs have been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years. Despite this, Sikhs have been victims of increased discrimination, harassment, and violence in the years after September 11, 2001, as the American public, through the media, began to equate the turban and beard with terrorism,” she wrote. But the Sikh Project “images show the resilience, diversity and beauty of the Sikh American community as they pursue the American dream.” The intent behind the project is to reveal to the world what it’s really like to “look like an American.”

The photographs, which embrace the turban as “a public declaration of sovereignty and equality of all people, irrespective of caste, class, creed or gender,” are on view at 530 Broadway from September 17 to 25. The gallery’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the exhibit is free to visitors. For more information, visit the Sikh Coalition.

Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

Deputy Sheriff Harinder Kaur Khalsa, originally from Birmingham, England, is the longest-serving turbaned Sikh-American in a law-enforcement position in the United States. In 2009, Deputy Sheriff Khalsa was told she could not wear her turban while in her sheriff’s uniform. For years, Deputy Sheriff Khalsa took a non-uniformed desk assignment that kept her segregated from the public. After years of community advocacy, in 2013, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office complied with a state law against workplace discrimination, finally allowing Deputy Sheriff Khalsa to wear her turban with her deputy sheriff uniform, and making all uniformed assignments available to her. — The Sikh Coalition

Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

Harpreet Kaur works as a Producer at Maryland Public Television and is the founder of Sach Productions, a media organization that aims at creating films to bring minority issues into the mainstream media. She was the first Sikh local news reporter in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. — The Sikh Coalition

Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

Ishprit Kaur is a new nurse graduate in Connecticut. She was inspired to go into this field because her mother is also in the profession and because her father is battling Parkinson’s.  — The Sikh Coalition

Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

Japjee Singh was bullied mercilessly for years in in Dekalb County, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. He courageously spoke out, and his family contacted the Sikh Coalition. In 2014, the DOJ settled a landmark case with the Dekalb County school system for better protecting 100,000-plus kids from bullying. — The Sikh Coalition

Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi was born in India and moved to New Jersey when he was 2. He was the only Sikh child in his public schools, and he went on to become the first Sikh-American to be granted a religious accommodation to serve in the U.S. military since the ban on Sikhs in the 1980s. Today, despite his accommodation, the presumptive ban still remains against Sikh-Americans who wish to serve in our armed forces, and Major Kalsi continues to dedicate much of his life toward working to end religious discrimination in the military. — The Sikh Coalition

Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

Sonny Singh is an original member of the acclaimed Brooklyn Bhangra band Red Baraat. Sonny has worked as a community organizer in various capacities, including for the Sikh Coalition, and he writes and leads workshops on race, religion, and social justice. — The Sikh Coalition

Photo: Amit and Naroop with the Sikh Coalition

Waris Singh Ahluwalia is an actor, designer, and model based in New York City. Waris was kicked off an Aeromexico flight in February for his Sikh articles of faith. — The Sikh Coalition

Sikh-Americans Embrace Their Individual Turban Style