Sikhs honor Interfaith Activist in Washington with Guru Nanak Community Service Award 2017
Washington, November 21( Raj Gogna )-Yesterday’s Guru Gobind Singh Foundation presented Guru Nanak Sewa (service) Award 2017 to Reverend Mansfield ‘Kasey’ Kaseman of Montgomery County of Maryland. Reverend Kaseman who is County’s Interfaith Community Liaison has been actively engaged in interfaith work in the Washington D.C. area and particularly in the Montgomery County. He has been a key contact for many faith communities to liaise with the local government. In addition, he has been active on the hate crimes issues and has provided the much needed assistance and moral support to many minority communities particularly Muslim and Sikh communities in the area. He also helped in providing support to the Jewish community in the area when many Jewish schools received threats in the beginning of the year. The award was presented at the Gurdwara of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation in the presence of over 450 Sikhs.
Inder Paul Singh Gadh, Chairman of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, in presenting the award to Reverend Kaseman said, “We recognize you for your unswerving dedication and commitment to the highest ethical standards, interfaith movement and civil rights issues of minorities and Americans at large. We are particularly indebted to you for your resolute leadership in providing timely support in solidarity with the Sikhs.” Mr. Gadh added, “He has been a great supporter of all communities and in bringing the message of interfaith to the entire County and State. He is truly a deserving person to receive an award in the name of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.”
Rev. Kaseman said, “It has been a blessing for me to be engaged with the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation. Your worship is soul refreshing and I have much appreciated working with your members on issues ranging from bullying to healthcare and responding to acts of hate and violence. To be recognized for my leadership by those I look up to is humbling. I thank you for the deepened sense of solidarity and reassurance that we can count on one another in our journeys of life and faith.” In the past GGSF has honored Joshua Starr, Superintendent, Board of Education, Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Police Chief, Interfaith Works CEO Shane Rock, and TV Anchor Greta Kreuz from WJLA
Rani Kaur, Executive Director of GGSF, said, “Guru Nanak Sewa (service) Award is given annually since 2013 at Guru Gobind Singh Foundation to an individual in recognition of their service and contribution not only towards the Sikh community but the local or national community at large.”
She added, “GGSF is actively involved in building partnerships with various communities and has been engaged in interfaith affairs since its inception in 1985. It also organizes annual health fairs for the entire community, and has hosted blood drives for Red Cross for several years. These activities are in line with Guru Nanak’s vision of service and helping those in need. We felt that we must recognize others who are also fulfilling the similar objectives.”
Reverend Kaseman has a track record of building a beloved community in other parts of the country.
The model he implemented for Theological Education in the Urban Setting was adopted by Harvard University, Boston University and Weston Divinity Schools. His engagement in the Civil Rights Movement included providing security for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., establishing non-profit organizations such as the Blue Hill Christian Center in Roxbury, MA and helping to implement Racial Justice Now. These are just some of activities spearheaded by the Reverend.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, Secretary of GGSF, added, “Sikh community is indebted to individuals like Reverend Kaseman whose work is so critical in America given the recent uptick of hate speech and violence. The recent incidents of racism and hatred in many parts of this country mandate that all faith communities need to work together and create a loving society.”
Dr. Harminder Kaur, who coordinates the activities of Sikh Kid 2 Kid and works closely with Rev Kaseman on bullying issues appreciated GGSF honoring his services. She said, “His work is so critically needed for the benefit of so many children particularly from the minority communities and we must continue to join in this work.”
Since its very inception in 1985, GGSF has consistently worked to create awareness about Sikhs and Sikhism among Americans. It had partnered with the Smithsonian Institutes and various other institutions in the past to create understanding about Sikhism. Time and again GGSF has been invited to the White House and other governmental agencies like the Department of Justice, on issues concerning the Sikhs in America. GGSF has also worked actively on hate crimes and discrimination issues affecting Sikhs since 9/11 attacks. GGSF has organized open house, an opportunity for neighbors and community members to have a better understanding about Sikhs. Sikh spiritual center (Gurdwara) run by GGSF has already become an important hub of Sikh activities in America. In September 2017, GGSF built and inaugurated a new facility to serve as an educational facility. This new has been named as Chaar Sahibzade Niwas, and is for the benefit of the community.