One year after a Sikh deputy’s tragic death, a bill to name a post office in his honor has passed the House floor, ABC 13 reports. Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal was the first Sikh deputy in Harris County near Houston.
The Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office Act passed the full House of Representatives unanimously. The bill now moves on to the U.S. Senate for a vote.
“It’s historic and it’s a meaningful gesture to the Sikh community,” Sim Singh, a representative for the Sikh Coalition said to ABC 13 . “Sikh Americans have been integral to the American fabric for generations. We’re your truck drivers, your doctors, your soldiers, police officers and more.”
The Sikh Coalition, a community-based organization, said in a Tweet that Dhaliwal was ‘beloved and widely respected as a role model’
“We are proud to have directly supported [the Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office Act] and other efforts to honor his legacy,” the tweet notes. “Today, we join so many others in honoring his memory.”
Dhaliwal was a trailblazer, an integral part of Sikh representation on the Harris County police force and known for his ‘distinctive turban’. He was set to be promoted to a supervisor role, which would have allowed him to mentor other young deputies on community policing.
Robert Solis, a fugitive with a lengthy criminal history, is accused of shooting and killing Dhaliwal during a traffic stop. His death was met with overwhelming grief from family members and the community. A year later, the wound is still fresh.
“For me, he’s never gone,” Pyara Dhaliwal, the deputy’s father, said according to ABC 13. “Something I can’t show, I can’t picture. But I can feel it.”
“Yes, I miss him,” Dhaliwal continued. “But (on the) other side, he put me so high in the world that I’m very proud. Very proud.”
Dhaliwal’s memory has been honored throughout the past year. The Houston Police Department has laid down landmark policies to allow officers on duty to wear turban and carry religious items, and the sheriff’s office now has two Sikh deputies.
“In this year, which has been filled with turmoil and so much division, it seems at times, between community and law enforcement,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. “I think that Sandeep showed us an example of what it could be that everybody could serve, that everybody could connect and embrace the community.”
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