The event was part of Vaisakhi celebrations.
Post 9/11, Sikh Americans have been vulnerable victims of hate crimes in the United States, with assailants associating turban-clad men for Muslim terrorists.
The community, spread across the United States, has been trying to engage with Americans to sensitize how Sikhism stands for universal peace and harmony.
As part of such an initiative, Sikh Americans gathered at a public square in a Cleveland, OH, neighborhood on Saturday, and offered free food to passers-by, as part of the Vaisakhi festival
ALSO READ: Most Americans think Sikhs are Muslims: study by Hart Research Associates (February 18, 2015)
Speaking to Cleveland 19, Sikh American Gurwin Ahuja said, when people see Sikhs like him walking on the street with their religiously mandated turban, the very next thing that comes to their mind is about religious extremism and terrorism.
“What people don’t know is that the turban represents a commitment to equality,” said Gurwin.
The Sikh gathering had hundreds of turban cladded men and women speaking with others in the community, inviting them to have food and sharing with them knowledge about the Sikh culture.
ALSO READ: Gurdwaras in US to fundraise $5 million to educate Americans about Sikh religion, culture (August 21, 2014)
One of the public square visitors was a white American, Cyril Jackson, who was quoted by Cleveland 19 as saying, “I saw this parade and there were some people who invited me and many others to come on down here to public square to partake in some of their good food and learn a little bit about them.”
He added that witnessing the hospitality of people of the Sikh community in Cleveland, he felt honestly surprised.
The organizers of the gathering said that they are Americans first despite their root in South Asia.
Baltek Singh said America helped many Sikhs in fulfilling the dream and that they are thankful to the great nation.
Vaisakhi festival marks the time for harvest of rabi crops. Sikhs celebrate the day by performing joyful bhangra and gidda dance.