May 20, 2016 (Sacramento, CA) – Yesterday, after two years of advocating for the accurate inclusion and preservation of Sikh history in the California curriculum framework, the California Department of Education (CDE) tentatively approved our submissions that will successfully preserve Sikh history.
While the formal vote to approve these submissions is scheduled to happen sometime before the end of 2016, the CDE unanimously agreed with the Sikh Coalition and other community partners that the Sikh contributions to California history are uniquely valuable and that Sikhism absolutely deserves its own individual place as a faith, tradition and community.
“This decision is so important to Sikhs nationwide because California will set a precedent for future decisions that will be made by other states across the nation,” said the Sikh Coalition’s California Community Development Manager, Harjit Kaur. “The facts of history should always trump the orchestrated attempt by special interest groups to distort reality, and we are thrilled to see California educators come to this same conclusion.”
Through academic, government and community engagement, the Sikh Coalition has worked tirelessly to ensure that Sikh history is preserved. While attending every public hearing, the Sikh Coalition also partnered with a diverse coalition of over 20 organizations, which comprised Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists and atheists, titled “South Asian Histories For All.” The message delivered by this coalition was loud and clear: nobody agrees with the distorted attempts by special interest groups to rewrite our histories. This message resonated with nearly 10,000 community members across the United States who signed our petition.
Recently, organizations that have been pushing to distort Sikh history, like the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), Uberoi Foundation, California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials (CAPEEM), resorted to filing a legal letter requesting justification for rejecting their version of our history.
“Until the final vote goes through, this fight is not over because special interest groups will resort to anything in an effort to distort our history,” said Harjit Kaur. “However, these developments are a very positive sign for our children in California and Sikhs all across the United States.” The Sikh Coalition would like to thank all of our “South Asian Histories For All” coalition partners. We remain more committed than ever in fighting for the rights of all minority faiths and traditions in the state of California.
The Sikh Coalition also recently co-sponsored the “Safe Place to Learn Act,” AB2845, which would require the CDE to meaningfully assess whether California educational agencies have provided enough resources to students who are subject to discrimination and bias-based bullying.Earlier this week, AB2845 was unanimously passed out of committee and will be voted on in the upcoming months. If passed, it will be a significant step forward in better protecting Sikh children in schools all across California.
As always, the Sikh Coalition encourages all Sikhs to continue to practice their faith fearlessly.