Members of the Sikh community honored former mayor Harvey Hall with the Humanitarian Hero award after a three-day long prayer ceremony honoring him.
“He was a big source of protection,” member of the Sikh community Nazar Kooner said. “Like everybody was saying we are bad people, we are terrorists. They were comparing with us to Bin Laden, the Taliban. Twenty years ago he came forward, he said, hey stop, this is nonsense; these people are hardworking people; they are peace lovers.”
The Humanitarian Hero award has not been given out in 40 years. Mayor Karen Goh accepted it on behalf of the Hall family.
“He was our man,” Kooner said. “Even though he was belonging to different faiths, we respect that, but somehow we feel like he was us. He was hero for us. I think he was hero for everybody.”
The ceremony started Friday afternoon and wrapped up Sunday, with 48 hours of continuous prayer.
Hall’s campaign slogan was “Unity in the Community”. The Sikh community said Hall worked towards that with everyone.
“He’s a person who did not act, like as the mayor, but he was more like just a regular person, you and me,” member of the Sikh community Perminder Gill said. “He would fulfill people’s needs and just be there as just a human. He didn’t act like, like when he was talking to you, you didn’t seem like he was a big guy, like he’s the mayor he just seemed like a best friend.”
If you want to continue to honor the late mayor, the Hall family asks donations be made to Centennial High School girls basketball team, the Bakersfield Homeless Center or Cal State Bakersfield Athletics.