National Sikh organization stands before City Council, to rename local park after renowned hero

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For many years a park in West Central Fresno has been known as Victoria West Park. (KFSN)

For many years a park in West Central Fresno has been known as Victoria West Park.

It is a place where kids play on a hot summer day and a place Navkiran Kaur Khalara hopes will soon have new meaning.

"We haven't shared our stories we haven't shared our legacy," said Khalara.

That legacy is personal for the Fresno State alum. She is the daughter of Sikh Human Rights Activist Jaswant Singh Khalra.

He was murdered in 1995 by police in India for publicizing human rights abuses in Punjab. His little girl was just ten years old.

"I have very few memories more of what I know him is after he was taken away from us," said Khalara.

But now some twenty years later, Khalra is trying to keep her father's memory alive in the Central Valley.

She and the Jakara movement-- a Sikh organization went to Thursday's Fresno City Council meeting. She asked if the park would be renamed after her dad.

Councilmember Oliver Baines has been working with them for a year to execute that plan.

Jaswant Khalra for the Punjab Sikh community is like the Martin Luther King junior for my community.

So after Khalara stood at the podium to explain how important this is to the other elected officials.

"People growing up here or living here do see very little of our heroes being celebrated by the larger community," said Khalara.

The council--minus two absent members voted unanimously to change the name.

The decision brought joy to the more than 100 Sikh-Americans in the crowd as they witnessed history being made.

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