California: Sikh woman makes history as Yuba City council member

Preet Didbal (centre) sworn in Tuesday among family

UPDATED 9:13 AM PST Dec 03, 2014

YUBA CITY, Calif. (KCRA) —It’s history in the making as a woman of Sikh descent is the first one elected to City Council, likely not just in California, but in the nation.

Preet Didbal, 46, stood next to her mother and was sworn in by her daughter as part of the Yuba City ceremony for new council members Tuesday night.

History in the making: Woman of Sikh descent elected in Yuba City

“This is a big day,” Didbal told KCRA 3, her eyes filled with tears. “It is very emotional … I still can’t believe it.”

Her journey started from humble beginnings.

“We worked in the fields here,” Didbal said. “We are the farm laborers who just raised ourselves up. I was one of the first out of our family to go to college.”

Didbal holds an associate degree in nutrition, a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in public administration.

She is currently a correctional health care services manager in the California Department of Corrections.

Didbal recalls getting her parents’ thoughts years ago about getting into politics.

“My dad, my parents said (to me), ‘We were raising you like our sons, as if you were our sons,’ because (they had) four daughters,” Didbal said. “‘We give you the strength to go out and do what you want.'”

She has served on the Yuba City Planning Commission for eight years.

Didbal said she will focus on children, education and public safety during her term.

Among the people who packed council chambers during the ceremony were young girls who look up to Didbal.

“From where I was standing, I see all these men and then I see Preet,” said 15-year-old Ravina Sidhu. “And it’s wonderful, because she’s telling you to go for it.”

“I do admire her,” 11-year-old Meneek Sidhu said. “I think she’ll be a great councilwoman and good for our community.”

Categories: Americas, United States

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