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Ravi Bhalla becomes the first turbaned Sikh American Mayor of Hoboken New Jersey



Ravi Bhalla elected the new Mayor of Hoboken, N.J.

HOBOKEN, NJ (Diya TV) — Two term Hoboken City council member Ravi Bhalla became the first turbaned Sikh to be elected mayor of the city of Hoboken, New Jersey. Tuesday night, Bhalla was all smiles, thrusting his arm in the air to celebrate his victory becoming one of the first Sikh mayors of a U.S. city. Sikh-American lawyer with a record of fighting discrimination, Bhalla says, “I’m everything that Trump hates. A brown man wearing a turban, and a proud American with the know-how to stop his assaults on our country’s values.”

A victory that didn’t come easy. Bhalla ran against five other candidates in Hoboken, a city of 50,000. The Saturday before election, Bhalla tweeted that the fliers about terrorism were “troubling, but we won’t let hate win.” CBS News reported that the fliers did not name the group that paid for them, a violation of state election law.

The community celebrated in part disbelief and part joy.

Simran Jeet Singh, a friend and support of Bhalla and a fellow turbaned Sikh tweeted in disbelief

“Given how much we’ve endured in this country, and frankly the fact that we have been here for more than a century now in the U.S. and have felt largely ignored and neglected as a minority community, this is for us a signal shift, where we feel like we’re getting on the map. This is a major development for us,” Simran Jeet Singh, a religion fellow at the Sikh Coalition, said. “And it comes in a context where, like many minority groups, we’re facing xenophobia.”

Gurwin Ahuja, executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, said Bhalla is one of the first Sikh people to become mayor of a U.S. city. Satyendra Huja served as mayor of the city of Charlottesville, and some small towns have had Sikh mayors.

Ahuja said that whoever made the fliers implying that “turban” meant “terrorist” interpreted the turban completely wrong. “Sikhs are instructed to be actively involved in their communities…. In fact, the reason why Sikhs wear a turban is because it represents our value of equality and to stand up against injustice wherever we see it,” he said. “The turban represents our commitment to those values of equality — gender equality, racial equality and religious tolerance — and our duty to stand up for those rights. In India, back in the day, when people would see a Sikh, they knew that was someone they could go to for safety.”

Bhalla, finished first among six candidates in the winner take all race, with 4,781 votes with around 34% of votes. DeFusco totaled 4,116 votes, or approximately 29 percent, according to Hudson County Clerk election results, which do no include mail-in and provisional ballots.

Arts & Culture

NBA champs Golden State Warriors at the forefront of celebrating American diversity



Stanford's competitive dance group Basmati Raas perform outside the Oracle Arena as fans make their way to see the NBA champs take on the Phoenix Suns

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — The Golden State Warriors dominated this regular season game during Black History Month against the Phoenix Suns, all while showcasing Indian culture & heritage. From pre-game performances outside the Oracle Arena entrances, to on court displays of brilliant choreography and Indian dances, the Warriors celebrated their annual Bollywood Night bigger and better than ever.

Mandeep Singh Dhillon from San Jose is excited for his three kids who love Bhangra as much as they love Basketball

Mandeep Singh Dhillon from San Jose is excited for his kids who love Bhangra as much as they love Basketball

The evening began with a performance by Sikh dance group know as “The Lion Kings”, kids ranging from as young as 7 years to 16 years of age danced while getting the crowds going. Up next, on another entrance, Stanford’s competitive dance, Basmati Raas strutted their stuff ‘Gujju-style’ in Warriors Blue & Yellow showing how this next generation of American Born Desi kids are not ABCDs but ABPDs…American Born Proud Desis!

Before tip-off the Warriors All Stars – Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson & Draymond Green, received their all-star jerseys. While the splash party continued in the first half, the halftime show belonged to the always incredible Bhangra Empire. They brought down the house, ‘Punjabi-style’ with a colorful & masterful display of choreography and Sikh culture.

This performance was followed by Bhangra by the Bay, which is just what the crowd needed. Steph score 22 and new addition Omri Casspi scored 19 for dominant 129-83 victory for Golden State.

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Democrat Doug Jones beats Republican Roy Moore for Alabama Senate seat



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In one of the most intensely fought elections in 2017, Democrat Doug Jones, a former prosecutor has defeated the scandal-clad Republican Roy Moore. Moore who had the endorsement of President Trump, despite allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour, was defeated on Tuesday in Alabama, a deeply conservative state that last elected a Democratic senator 25 years ago. The upset delivered a surprising victory for the Democrats shaving the Republican Senate majority down to a single seat.

Roy Moore, the Republican candidate who was abandoned by a majority of his own party leaders, lost to Democrat Doug Jones in a battle that wasn’t a battle until the allegations of sexual misconduct began surfacing, including by a woman who was under-age at the time she was allegedly assaulted. Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney tweeted:

Moore was running to fill a seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions who is Trump’s attorney general and lost to Jones, a former US attorney who had prosecuted two members of the Ku Klux Klan for a 1963 bombing of a church in which four African Americans girls had been killed.
Just hours before the polls opened President Trump tweeted:

But despite the presidential endorsement, Moore was defeated by Jones becoming the first Democrat Alabama has sent to the US senate since 1992. His upset victory owes much to Moore’s flawed candidacy, but was pulled off by the Democratic party machine that poured money and resources sensing a chance, howsoever small at the time, of victory. Including a helping hand from Alabama-native and former NBA star Charles Barkley, who campaigned for Doug Jones. He told CNN “Roy Moore was an embarrassment. I am just so proud of my state. We’ve got some amazing people here and they rose up today”

President Trump congratulated Jones on his victory, over twitter:

After initially holding back his endorsement, Trump had come to fully embrace Moore, arguing that if the allegations were proven, the Republican candidate should step aside. But he needed every vote in the Senate to push through legislative agenda, which has had a patchy run thus far.

Trump broke with most members of his party, including the senior Republican senator from Alabama Richard Shelby who had announced they would not vote for Moore. Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona, public announced he had donated to Doug Jones’ campaign. Roy Moore hasn’t conceded to Jones and has asked for a recount stating, “It’s not over. I demand a recount. We need to wait for God.”

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Sikh American Gurbir Singh Grewal could become NJ’s first South Asian Attorney General



Gurbir Singh Grewal being sworn in as Bergen County Prosecutor in January 2017

HACKENSACK, NJ (Diya TV) — Governor-elect Phil Murphy on Tuesday announced Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal as his nominee to serve as state attorney general, the Democrat’s first high-level nomination as he works to fill out an administration set to take office on Jan. 16.

The pick of Grewal, an Indian-American Sikh, could prove historic. If Grewal is confirmed by the state Senate, which seems all but certain, Murphy said he would become the first South Asian attorney general in New Jersey and the first Sikh to hold the position in any state.

“The American dream is alive and well in New Jersey,” Grewal said at a news conference in Trenton where Murphy made the announcement.

Grewal, a Glen Rock resident and former federal prosecutor, has led the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office since Republican Gov. Chris Christie tapped him for the role in January 2016. He served in an acting capacity until the Senate confirmed him to a five-year term in November 2016.

Grewal, a Democrat, has earned plaudits for his office’s work in combating the opioid crisis in Bergen County and promoting better relations between police and the people they serve.

The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) congratulated Gurbir S. Grewal.
“The decision to appoint a visible minority as the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey reflects the diversity of the state and of the US, and is especially important in a time where minorities and immigrants have often felt targeted by law enforcement,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga. “We applaud Governor-elect Murphy in picking a distinguished and qualified member of the South Asian and Sikh American legal community for this pivotal role. We strongly support Mr. Grewal’s nomination as Attorney General and look forward to working with him on issues of national importance.”

Mr. Grewal has spent most of his legal career in public service, where he is currently the Bergen County prosecutor. Working for most populous county in New Jersey, Grewal serves a community of almost one million with his staff of 265.

Among other initiatives, Grewal has put in place a strategy of persuading recently arrested or hospitalized addicts to immediately talk to addiction recovery specialists. That has led to nearly three-quarters of those addicts agreeing to enter treatment at some point.

Attorney general is one of the most powerful positions in New Jersey government, serving as the state’s top cop and top lawyer. The person in that role leads the 7,200-employee Department of Law and Public Safety, which includes the State Police, civil rights enforcement, consumer affairs and civil litigation.

Grewal’s confirmation would be the second notable accomplishment for New Jersey Sikhs in recent months. Earlier this year, Ravi Bhalla was elected mayor of Hoboken and will become the first Sikh to hold that office in New Jersey.

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