Sikh Councilman Seeks Re-Election in Hoboken

Hoboken Councilman Ravinder Singh Bhalla (third from left) at an April 9 fundraiser held in Bergen County, New Jersey. (Photo from Facebook)

Ravinder Singh Bhalla, the only Sikh on a city council in New Jersey, is seeking a third term in Hoboken. The New Jersey native and practicing attorney recently spoke with Desi Talk reporter Ela Dutt about his accomplishments and concerns facing the Sikh community. Bhalla spoke of “his leadership in achieving a ‘historic’ turnaround of the Hoboken economy” and the Rebuild by Design project “to make Hoboken more resilient against flooding” following Hurricane Sandy.

He then discussed a personal issue – being a Sikh in Hoboken and the U.S.

The councilman has taken on hate speech on the Web, and says issues facing the Sikh community are important everywhere in the country. But in Hoboken, the police department has given a guarantee that Sikhs will be able to serve with their articles of faith intact, he said, an achievement he hopes will be emulated by other cities. Bhalla is also working to generate a discussion at the state and national level on bullying in schools, something Sikh children face more than some other ethnicities.

“There is fear and anxiety within the Sikh community. And hate crimes against Sikhs are understated and underreported,” Bhalla contends.

“There was a severe spike (in hate crimes) in the first ten days after President Trump was elected (November 8); It’s become relatively better since then,” he acknowledges, though the problem exists.

For more on Bhalla, and a fundraiser organized by the Sikh community for the public official, go to News India Times.

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