Dear Supporter Ji,
My name is Dilzafer Singh and I am a sixth grader from Massachusetts.
Earlier this year, America watched me tell W. Kamau Bell that “I am lucky to be a Sikh” on CNN.
I said this to him because this is how I feel. I am really proud to be a Sikh, to wear my patka and to stand out in my school. Sikhi teaches us that our identity is a reflection of the responsibility that we have to others and that is a special feeling.
I wanted Kamau and everyone else to know that I am a Sikh by choice. Being different isn’t always easy, but I know that I am lucky.
When my Dad reached out to Kamau to do an episode on Sikhs it was because even though we are the fifth largest world religion, most people do not know much about us. As Kamau said during the episode, “the Sikh faith is not misunderstood — it’s often not understood at all.”
We need to bring about a change and create greater awareness about our accomplishments. I know that the Sikh Coalition is doing this by helping educate others about Sikhi. I am really happy to have been a part of a show that finally brought our story to a channel like CNN.
Once the episode aired in May 2018, I had no idea how many people would see it! Someone told me that the episode is still running at airports across the country. So many people have had nice things to say to me after they watched it. All of my teachers saw it and my town’s school board honored me for representing my community on national television.
My family is using this awareness to seek the inclusion of Sikhi in our social studies curriculum, as the Sikh Coalition has been doing in other states. For the past two weeks, we have been studying Judaism in our sixth grade ancient civilization class. Can you imagine how much fun it would be when kids from my class study Sikhi and it becomes a random conversation topic during lunch or with their parents at home?
I know that the Sikh Coalition will always be there to help me or any other kid to make sure that we feel safe at school and that more people know about us. I know I can count on the Sikh Coalition whether it is about school bullying, kirpans in schools or finding books on Sikhi to share with my teachers. I also know the Sikh Coalition can count on you.
Dilzafer Singh was interviewed by W. Kamau Bell in 2017 alongside his father, Harpreet Singh, co-founder of the Sikh Coalition.