US city elects first-ever Sikh woman mayor

US city elects first-ever Sikh woman mayor

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NEW YORK: A woman of the Sikh community has become the first-ever mayor of Northern California’s Yuba city.

Preet Didbal’s rise to mayor was celebrated as a long-awaited affirmation of the Sikh community’s contributions in California, the Los Angeles Times said on Thursday.

Yuba City’s annual Sikh parade attracts upward of 100,000 visitors every November to honour the teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

The Sikh religious minority has an estimated 500,000 followers in the US and 25 million worldwide, and Didbal’s ascension comes as Sikhs have made political inroads nationwide.

But those gains have been accompanied by heightened discrimination since the 9/11 attacks.

A single mother of a college freshman and political independent who has been registered as a “no-party preference” voter for her entire adult life, Didbal took a challenging path to becoming mayor of the city where she was born in the late 1960s.

As the daughter of farmworkers who immigrated from the Punjab region of India 50 years ago, Didbal talks about picking peaches alongside her parents and overcoming the cultural barriers faced by Sikh women, particularly after she was raped as a young woman.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s of business administration on her way to jobs at the state Department of Corrections and State Compensation Insurance Fund, where she currently works.

‘Didbal, 49, was elected to the Yuba City council in 2014. The mayor is elected annually by the five-member council, LAT said.

courtesy- Dawn, December 29th, 2017

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