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Prominent Sikh leaders to be featured on CNN program where they will highlight diversity

April 8, 2018

For local Sikh community leader and prominent farmer Karm Bains, being interviewed for an upcoming CNN television series presented a great opportunity to reach out to mainstream America about the Sikh faith and its values.

Bains and Yuba City Mayor Preet Didbal were among those interviewed for the CNN series, the “United Shades of America,” an often-provocative television series hosted by comedian Kamau Bell. The interviews occurred a few months ago and will be included within season three of the series, which is set to premiere on April 29.

“I don’t take it lightly; this is a great opportunity for members of the Sikh community we have here,” Bains said. “To be able to showcase our faith and values is extremely important. At the end of the day, the message is we are a part of the fabric of this great nation, we are proud to be American. We might look different, but we all try to be good neighbors and outstanding citizens in any way we can.”

Didbal said the show’s crew interviewed her around the time she became the first female Sikh mayor in the United States. Though she understood the basis of why a national network wanted to speak with her, she saw it as recognition for not only the Sikh community, but for every one of the diverse communities that call Yuba City home.

“I think the interview was important, but not just for the Sikh community, but every community” Didbal said. “I think it is important to understand every culture and take a good look at our differences, that is how we get rid of prejudice.”

Didbal said one of the topics of conversations touched upon traditional gender roles, but that the overall theme of the show was not revealed to her.

In past episodes of the series, Bell has covered a range of controversial topics, such as white supremacy, gentrification of urban neighborhoods and police brutality against blacks.

Didbal said the show’s reputation for being controversial was not lost to her, as she welcomed the opportunity to speak about topics that are often left unspoken.

“I feel this is the way change happens,” Didbal said. “I’ve hosted a number of community forums about topics that are not easy to talk about. I have always believed in open doors and having tough conversations, so things are not shoved under the carpet. Conversations like this get people to think and that is how positive change happens.”