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Manpreet Monica Singh becomes the first female Sikh judge in US

First United States Sikh female judge Manpreet Monica Singh
via ABC13

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    The country has its first-ever female Sikh judge.

    Manpreet Monica Singh was sworn in as a Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 4 judge in a packed courtroom on Friday with Judge Ravi Sandill, Texas’ first judge of South Asian descent, conducting the ceremony, ABC13 reported.

    It’s a really big moment for the Sikh community. When they see someone of color, someone a little different, they know that possibility is available to them,” Sandill said. “Manpreet is not only an ambassador for Sikhs, but she’s an ambassador for all women of color.”

    It was a proud day for the Sikh Community, but also a proud day for all people of color,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said of the historic moment, according to The Times of India.

    Singh, who is of Indian descent, served as an attorney for over 20 years before deciding to run for election for judge of the Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 4.

    The native Houstonian, who ran under the Democratic Party, won in the general election on Nov. 8, 2022, and assumed office on Jan. 1.

    Following Friday’s appointment, Singh shared that she is happy to represent her Sikh community. There are approximately 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S., and about 20,000 are in Houston, according to ABC13 Eyewitness News.

    I am excited about the community getting the spotlight, and people asking who are the Sikhs and why does it matter,” Singh told the Hindustan Times. “It is an honor to be able to represent our community. I hope I have the blessing of all Sikhs around the world.”

    A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the South Texas College of Law, Singh was part of Turner’s transition team and served as a liaison with the Department of Homeland Security.

    According to her website, she is “uniquely qualified” for her new role.

    Monica is heavily involved in numerous civil rights organizations at a local, state, and national level. Currently, she is on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Lyceum, and the Sikh Coalition (also serving as Trustee). … She is also a Chapter Representative for the exclusive American Board of Trial Advocates and ongoing lecturer for the Texas Bar CLE classes, an organization that also awarded her the Texas Diversity Champion Award in 2018. To further emphasize her strengths, she won a nationwide Passion of Excellence Award, completed the Harvard Leadership Program, graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy, and Leadership Houston.

    Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Singh recalled the early days of her law career in Houston, a profession she described as “dominated by white men” and people who had trouble pronouncing her name.

    One of my bosses advised me to always tell them that I belonged here [the U.S.]. He would tell me to make people realize my parents are from India, not me. I understood that the only way we can shape the narrative is by asserting that we belong here.”

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