PLYMOUTH, UK—The city’s favorite turban wearing councilor is to be honored with an international award at a conference in America.
Chaz Singh is set to fly to Washington D.C. tomorrow to be part of an honorary banquet put together by the organisation UNITED SIKHS. He is set to be commended for being a “Strong Sikh leader” and for his work in “breaking down barriers” for the Sikh religion’s worldwide community at the celebratory dinner on Saturday July 26.
Mr. Singh is one of only 90 Sikhs living in the city and will be the only person from the UK honored at the event. He said:
There aren’t a lot of Sikhs in Plymouth and I did stick-out a bit when I first arrived.
The organizers have seen what I have been doing here in the community and my role as an ambassador of the Sikh faith.
They haven’t picked me because I’m a councilor or a former deputy Lord Mayor. It has been about breaking down barriers.
Chaz Singh came to global attention when his picture of him adding the letter “T” to the front of the Urban Outfitters shop in Exeter went viral after he posted it on Twitter. He said UNITED SIKHS felt he had “humanized the turban,” especially in America where the turban “can still be an issue.”
The independent businessman also pointed to the way he interacts with classically English events, such as organizing St George’s Day celebrations in the city.
“This is a massive opportunity,” said the labor parliamentary candidate for the South West Devon seat.
“I have said to people that 400 years ago, the Pilgrim Fathers fled religious persecution but someone like me today can be here representing my Sikh faith and say that this is a city of tolerance. We have come a long way.”
After the award dinner on Saturday, Sikh leaders from across the world will join a four day conference in the U.S. capital to discuss issues and discrimination suffered by faith members in day-to-day life, including bullying and the right to wear turbans at airports.