History was made Dec. 4 in Southern California as Harry Sidhu was inaugurated as the mayor of Anaheim, Calif.
In being inaugurated, Sidhu becomes the first Indian American to claim the seat in the city, which is the tenth most populous city in California.
The inaugural event took place at River Arena next to Anaheim City Hall which was filled to capacity, according to a press release distributed by Sidhu’s office.
Joining Sidhu on stage for administration of the oath of office by Orange County Superior Court Judge Megan Wagner were his wife Gin, son Rohan and Sikh priest Jaswant Singh Jiera of the Riverside Gurdwara-Sikh Temple Riverside, holding the revered Guru Granth Sahib scripture, upon which Sidhu took the oath, it said.
In attendance were Sidhu’s immediate and extended family members; his daughter Sohina was unable to attend due to graduate studies at the Yale School of Drama in Connecticut, the release added.
Also attending were hundreds of longtime Indian American community supporters who upon completion of the oath administration shouted out the Sikh slogan of victory and exultation, “Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!”
Sidhu dedicated his service as mayor to the memory of his beloved mother-in-law, Manjeet Kaur, who recently passed away, and thanked his parents for the gift they gave to their children in bringing them to America almost 50 years ago to ensure that they would have a bright future filled with opportunity, according to the release.
Sidhu opened his inaugural speech by announcing “Anaheim is open for business!” He went on to state that, “I immigrated to this great country 44 years ago from India, with little more to my name than the hopes and dreams I brought with me. To now be sworn into office as the 46th mayor of this large, vibrant city is proof the American Dream is alive and well in Anaheim. As your mayor, it will be my mission to enact policies to ensure that Anaheim is the ‘City of the American Dream.’”
“In Anaheim, the doors of opportunity will always be open for everyone to participate in the American Dream! Funding the investments our neighborhoods need and deserve depends on a rising tide of economic growth and tax revenues. By using the revenues generated by these assets and applying them into putting our residents and neighborhoods first – we can make Anaheim the City of the American Dream,” the newly inaugurated mayor said.
As his first order of business, Sidhu called a Special Council Meeting within 48 hours of his inauguration, on Dec. 6, during which Anaheim’s City Council approved moving forward with an interim emergency homeless shelter to help people out of homelessness during the critical winter months, and address growing impacts on the city’s parks and neighborhoods.
It is expected to come online by the end of December and operate for up to 90 days. The interim emergency shelter is the result of a public-private partnership to benefit neighborhoods and the homeless between Anaheim and Visit Anaheim Cares, the nonprofit arm of Visit Anaheim, which promotes tourism and represents the city’s visitor industry, Sidhu’s office said.
“Homelessness is both a humanitarian and civic crisis,” Sidhu said. “Our streets and parks were never meant to be places for people to live, and we have seen the toll it has taken on our residents, businesses and neighborhoods. At the same time, we have the urgent need to help those living in homelessness with the cold and wet weather of winter upon us.”