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Gurinder Singh Khalsa to Receive Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award

Gurinder Khalsa

FISHERS, IN— An Indian-American Sikh man in Fishers, Indiana, is set to receive the Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award.

Khalsa was named the award recipient based on his efforts in changing the Transportation Security Administration’s policy regarding turbans, the report noted.

In 2007, Khalsa was forcibly removed from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York after he refused to unwrap his turban. As a member of the Sikh community, the turban is one of five sacred articles of faith. When Khalsa would not remove his turban in the airport, he said he was taken away by security, it said.

TSA officials informed Khalsa he would encounter the same issue at every airport in the nation, so he took a two-hour taxi ride to Canada, where he immediately contacted a friend with an ethnic media organization. He was interviewed on live TV, and calls from the Sikh community began pouring in,

“That’s how I started,” he said

Khalsa met with members of the U.S. Congress and then traveled across the U.S. to acquire at least 20,000 signatures to change TSA’s policy. He collected 67,000 signatures, the report said.

“That is why I am getting the Trailblazer Award,” he said. “They not only changed the policy, they also had our (Sikh) community people engage with those TSA checkpoints all over the U.S. to give them the training and let them know how we need to be more sensitive and accommodating to the article of faith. That is the beauty. That makes me in my heart feel we are one of the best countries on the face of the earth.”

Jose Lusende, vice president for Strategy and External Relation of Recorder Media Group, said the Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award is one of three special awards the Indiana Minority Business Magazine offers.

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