Beards, turbans and other traditional garb many Sikh Americans wear at times make them easy targets of hate crimes, says Manmohan Kaur of Naperville.

In 2019, law enforcement agencies nationwide reported 8,812 victims of hate crimes. Of 1,715 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, 3.5% were of anti-Sikh bias, according to the FBI’s most recent statistics.

The rise in hate crimes against her Sikh community prompted Kaur, a professor of mathematics at Benedictine University in Lisle, to apply for a grant from Interfaith America to promote healing.

With the funding, Benedictine University’s South Asian Student Association is hosting a traditional Sikh Harvest Festival featuring performers, a Bhangra dance workshop and food from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. April 21. It is open to community members.

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