Harmeet opened the second night of the Republican National Convention by singing the invocation in Punjabi and then translating it into English.
It’s a first for the RNC. But it’s not the first time the 47-year-old San Francisco lawyer has upended expectations.
Born in Chandigarh, India, she emigrated with her parents to England and then to the Bronx, N.Y. Her father, an orthopedic surgeon, soon moved the family to rural Smithfield in central North Carolina.
“I had two long braids and a funny name and my mother didn’t dress me in fashionable clothes. I was not popular at all,” said Dhillon.
“Please give us the courage to make the right choices, to make common cause with those with whom we disagree, for the greater good of our nation,” she told the delegates.
She was raised as a devout Sikh. “I had a very religious upbringing at home. That was very central to my life from day one,” she recalled.
Dhillon attended Dartmouth College, where she wrote for the college’s conservative paper, the Dartmouth Review, and ultimately was named editor.