US Media campaign puts Sikhs in good light

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Washington, December 11, 2017

The National Sikh Campaign (NSC) and its supporters gathered for their national meeting over the weekend in Washington DC to discuss and launch the next phase of the Sikh media campaign to create awareness about Sikhs in America.

Washington’s famous Mayflower Hotel was the venue for this gathering which brought 30 Sikhs from all over the country and several more joined the discussions over the phone.

Sikh values understood

NSC had launched in April 2017 ‘We Are Sikhs’ advertisement campaign and initiated grassroots efforts to reach out to Americans. Through national and regional television advertising, social media outreach and targeted digital advertising, the campaign resulted in more than 92 million impressions.

The campaign was in response to recent statistics that showed that Sikhs in America were common targets of discrimination, intimidation, harassment and hate crimes because of their physical appearance and because of fundamental misunderstanding of the faith and what the turban represents.

Corrie Hunt of the Hart Research Associates presented a report to the meeting which said that 57% of the people who saw the advertisements were likely to associate a bearded man wearing a turban with Sikhism.

“About 59% of Fresno (California) residentssaid that they knew something about Sikhs in America. 68% saw Sikhs as good neighbours and 64% saw regarded Sikhs as generous and kind. There are still many people we need to reach and more work needs to be done,” she said.

Professional organisations

Hart Research Associates does strategy work for the World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Harvard University, while FP1 Strategies, a conservative and Republican-leaning marketing team, led President George W Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaign. It has also worked on advocacy efforts of Facebook and the Ford Motor Company. Both companies are working for NSC.

President Bill Clinton’s speech writer planned and edited the content of the website WeAreSikhs.org

Hollywood Connection

NSC is negotiating with a media firm connected to Hollywood to make creative videos and a reputable film company to create a documentary for the American TV stations.

The Meeting unanimously endorsed the proposals and to engage Sikh communities across the United States in grassroots efforts.

NSC’s hired media and marketing companies presented their findings regarding the reach of the campaign and the results of the polls.

Countrywide reach

FP1 Strategies shared their findings regarding the overall Sikh media campaign reach. According to them, this effort has made more than 92 million impressions throughout the country; 46.3 million impressions through national television advertising on CNN, Fox News and Fox Business Network; 28.8 million impressions through local television advertising in Fresno, California; 10.5 million impressions through social media channels; and 6.4 million impressions through digital advertising.

There were over 600,000 followers on twitter of the campaign.

Impressive results

NSC Co-Founder and Senior Advisor Dr Rajwant Singh said that despite its limited budget, the Organisation was able to spread its message of unity and help Americans understand Sikhs and the principles and values of Sikhism throughout the country.

“These impressive results are a testament to the hard work that went into the campaign and we are grateful to everyone who helped tell our story. Hundreds of Sikhs across the US contributed wholeheartedly to make this campaign possible. We are confident that the community will support next phase as well,” he said.

NSC Fresno Team Member Nick Sahota said, “The campaign has shown tremendous results in our city. Many have stopped Sikhs on the streets and have thanked them for their presence.”

Bias and discrimination

Amritpal Singh, NSC’s Team member from Visalia, said, “I have so many stories of people stopping to tell how they appreciate Sikhs. A 92-year old woman hugged me and said that her Sikh husband had to leave the US in 1928 because of the discrimination he faced. She supported the campaign.”

Gurwin Singh Ahuja, Executive Director of NSC, said, “Even amidst recent racial tensions and political polarisation in America, the National Sikh Campaign created increased awareness of the Sikh faith and improved perception of the turban. We will launch the next phase in 2018.”

Gurvinder Singh Rekhi, who appeared in the advertisement said that the strategic plan was responding to needs of the community.

-From a Press Release by Dr Rajwant Singh,

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Photo Caption:

Dr Rajwant Singh is Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of the National Sikh Campaign, Chairman, Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Chairman, EcoSikh, Communications Director, Sikh Human Development Foundation and many other Sikh organisation in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is seen in the picture here, second from left, with members of the Sikh community and their guests at the Meeting held in Washington DC on Sunday, December 10, 2017.

(Picture Supplied)

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