The Clovis City Council proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month and recognized the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, at its Jan. 13 meeting
Representatives from the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission thanked the City Council for proclaiming January as Human Trafficking Prevention month, saying the proclamation raises awareness for the cause.
According to the EOC, human traffickers run rampant in the Central Valley and often go unnoticed. Most victims are domestic and forced into sex work, though there are also victims who are forced into labor.
From 2010 to 2019, the EOC identified 938 victims of human trafficking in Fresno County.
Councilmember Lynne Ashbeck told the Roundup that Clovis should stay aware of human trafficking and thanked the EOC for putting a spotlight on the issue.
“The issues of human trafficking in our valley are real and Clovis is not immune from those issues. I think the more we are all aware of what is happening in our midst the better,” Ashbeck said. “They talk about human trafficking being this hidden scourge that goes on all around us. I appreciate the work of the EOC and their work on these really intractable issues.”
Several members of the Sikh community attended the meeting to thank the council for recognizing the birthday of Guru Nanak, who in the 15th century founded Sikhism in India’s Punjab region.
Indian catering was provided and included cultural staples such as curry.
Naindeep Singh, a Sikh community member who attended the meeting, said Guru Nanak’s 550TH birthday is an especially unique occasion. He said the recognition of the founder’s birthday brings the growing number of Sikhs in Clovis closer to the community.
“The reason that Sikhs, especially here in the City of Clovis, are extremely excited to celebrate the birthday of Guru Nanak, with our neighbors and our families and the City of Clovis is because this is a unique occasion,” he said. “This year marks the 550th anniversary since the birth of Guru Nanak, so for Sikh’s this is a momentous occasion to celebrate peace, to renew his spirit and to spread the message of goodwill towards all.
Ashbeck said the number of Sikh community members that attended the meeting was a testament to the diversity of Clovis.
“It’s a reflection that our community is diverse,” she said. “Being able to honor the Sikh faith and the folks that came here tonight and how much it meant to them is really important. The lessons that they talked about – work hard and serve others –reflects on ourselves. We can all learn from those lessons.”
Besides the proclamations, the council also disapproved a resolution to annex parts of the Dry Creek Preserve area in a 4-1 vote.
Residents from the region attended the meeting. They expressed opposition to the resolution, citing concerns over increased traffic and fees associated with plugging into the city’s water and sewage system.
The city plans to revisit the resolution at a later date.