Dear Supporter Ji,
I am writing to follow up on last week’s email from Akashdeep Singh, who will be one of many Sikhs featured in the upcoming CBS episode examining religious-based bullying in schools.
Akashdeep’s story exemplifies how difficult school bullying can be on families. However, the episode highlights how he and others have countered the growing epidemic with resilience, education and peer-to-peer dialogue. It also highlights the many resources created by the Sikh Coalition that are available to Sikh children and parents as a part of our never-ending efforts to create safer schools for our children.
Through our 2014 school bullying report, we know that Sikh children are dealing with this issue at disproportionately high rates. In fact, in the 2017-18 school year, the Sikh Coalition’s legal team witnessed a dramatic rise in school bullying legal intakes.
The CBS special, which will begin airing on March 31st, is part of our multi-year approach to combat this problem in our nation’s schools. This national educational opportunity joins our free legal aid, groundbreaking educational resources and tireless efforts to ensure Sikhism is taught in schools.
I hope that you will watch the special once it airs and begin a dialogue in your home. Click here to view your local CBS channel listings, and if you’d like to view it online, click here to make sure you don’t miss out.
The Sikh Coalition
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From: Akashdeep Singh
Date: Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 1:00 PM
Subject: CBS will feature my story on March 31st
Dear Supporter Ji,
When I was asked to interview for the CBS special “Religion & Identity in Young America,” I hesitated at the idea of sharing my experience of being bullied with a national audience. But I also recognized this interview as an opportunity to share how I turned a debilitating experience into a catalyst for growth.
If you want to hear my full story, make sure to watch the CBS special on March 31st.
While attending school in New York City as a young child, I was relentlessly bullied because of my religious identity by other students and even teachers – I would be referred to as a “girl” and a “terrorist” by those who were unfamiliar with why I wore a patka on my head. The bullying became so unbearable that my family eventually moved to New Jersey so I could attend a different school.
Over the years, my family and I received vital free legal aid and community support from the Sikh Coalition in order to deal with these bullying incidents. But there was a time when I considered cutting my hair in order for the bullying to stop. However, thankfully, I never succumbed to this pressure.
I’ve learned that no one should be bullied for practicing their religion. Keeping my hair is part of my Sikh identity and, ultimately, who I am. Now that I am in high school, I have also become very involved with other Sikh youth at my local gurdwara because I want to show them that despite the bullying problem, they can still embrace their Sikhi without fear.
On March 31st, CBS will feature my full story examining religious-based bullying in schools. It will also include the perspectives of other Sikhs, as well as the Muslim and Jewish communities. This will be an incredible opportunity to examine how Sikhs and other religious communities are working to combat school bullying.
More than anything, I hope the CBS special will inspire other Sikh youth to know that they can achieve their dreams without sacrificing their faith. The episode will begin airing in regional media markets across the United States and digital platforms on March 31st.
I hope you will join me in watching this landmark episode. Please join the Sikh Coalition’s national viewing party to make sure you don’t miss out on the special once it’s available.
Current New Jersey high school student and former Sikh Coalition legal client
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