(New York, New York) – March 12, 2012 – In recent weeks, the Sikh Coalition has taken on initiatives in New York City and Union City, California to educate school children about Sikhs.
New York City – Participating in Respect for All Week
Last month, every school in New York City was encouraged to celebrate Respect For All week with their students. During this week, schools hosted diversity appreciation programs to combat bullying based on race, religion, gender and more. The Sikh Coalition was able to organize Sikh Awareness presentations in 5 different schools in Queens, with the help of our Sikh Presenter’s Course Graduates in the area. Over 4,000 students in New York City learned about Sikh history, our basic beliefs, and the significance of the Sikh articles of faith as a means of promoting respect for all. In addition, resources such as Sikh lesson plans, presentations, and activity sheets were made available to all New York City School principals through the Department of Education’s website.
Union City – Sikh Awareness Month
To their credit, the New Haven Unified School District declared January as Sikh Awareness Month for all schools in the district. The Sikh Coalition worked with the SEVA team in the Bay Area to pass this resolution. As many Sikhs know, the district includes Union City, California which has a significant Sikh population. Union City was also identified by the Sikh Coalition as a city in the Bay Area where Sikh children suffer school bullying in its 2010 Bay Area Civil Rights Report.
Again, Sikh Presenter’s Course Graduates from the Bay Area class were able to lead presentations at 2 school faculty meetings in the district. They presented information on how to teach Sikhi in the classroom, and distributed an educational resource packet. In addition, the Sikh Coalition distributed books from the Wing Luke Asian Museum exhibit entitled Sikh Community: Over 100 Years in the Pacific Northwest to each school in this district.
These two events are indicators to the community that huge institutions are supporting the inclusion of Sikhism in our schools. The Sikh Coalition has noticed that there is an openness and willingness from these school districts to promote the education of various religions, including Sikhism. It is our wish that by telling our neighbors about our faith and why we carry this external identity, this will lead to respect and appreciation for our Sikh students.