The state legislature in California declared November as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation month this year. To our knowledge, California is the only state to encourage the celebration of Sikhs and Sikh accomplishments on this scale. To their credit, California Sikhs took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to educate their neighbors about Sikhi. Hundreds of California Sikhs, taking inspiration from a list of projects provided by the Sikh Coalition, have organized events, led presentations and engaged with the media to celebrate this month. Below is a sample of some of the initiatives taken by the community: School Outreach
- Over 1,000 Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month posters, created by the Sikh Coalition, have been distributed to schools, public libraries, and county offices.
- All 58 County Superintendents of Education were sent information about Sikhs and how to teach Sikhism in the classroom.
- In addition to the state resolution, Elk Grove Unified School District and West Contra Costa Unified School District (page 83) have passed a resolution recognizing November as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.
- Sikh Coalition staff, Sikh Presenter’s Course Graduates, Sikh Advocates, and volunteers are leading over 60 presentations on Sikhism throughout the state.
- The San Jose City Council proclaimed November Sikh Awareness Month for the entire city.
Gurdwara/Sikh Community Outreach
- The Sikh Coalition sent packages to over 30 California gurdwaras with information about Sikh Awareness Month. The Coalition encouraged these gurdwaras to host a non-Sikh public educational event in the coming months and provided educational materials and guidance on how to do so.
- The Sikh Coalition partnered with 3rd i Films to present three short films about the Sikh identity on November 15. The Sikh Coalition’s advocacy manager moderated a Question and Answer session with some of the filmmakers.
- Seminars for local educators were hosted by gurdwaras in the following cities: San Jose, Yuba City, and Fresno. Sikh Coalition staff led presentations on Sikhism and bias-based bullying against Sikh students at these events.
- The Sikh Coalition fielded over 30 requests of assistance from California Sikhs on how to distribute resources, lead presentations and approach educators to celebrate this month.
- San Jose Khalsa School had their students design posters celebrating the month and presented it to their public school teachers.
- KFOG Coverage of the Sikh Coalition’s Advocacy Manager speaking about Sikh Awareness Month.
- Los Angeles Times Opinion Editorial by Dilveer Singh Vahali.
- CBS Coverage of Fresno Gurdwara Seminar Against Bullying in Schools, November 10.
- American Turban Blog on Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month, November 8.
- Appeal Democrat Coverage of Yuba City Sikh Seminar and Open House, November 10.
We are inspired by the leadership of the California sangat in educating their neighbors about Sikhi. As always, the Sikh Coalition urges all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly.