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Dear Supporter Ji,

I’m writing to you about the Sikh Coalition’s newly-updated Back to School Toolkit, which has been integral to educating so many students and educators in the New York state area--including my family’s own school district. Click here to watch me tell my story.

When my children first attended school in the Monroe-Woodbury School District, I wanted to figure out a way to talk about Sikhi and our identity, including our articles of faith. Even though my kids and their classmates see one another daily, many didn’t know how to ask about the Sikh identity. In both of my kids’ schools, few children actually knew anything about Sikhs. Ultimately, I decided the best thing for me to do would be to approach my children’s educators directly. I introduced myself and, using many of the Sikh Coalition resources featured in their Back to School Toolkit, was able to help them understand what Sikhi is all about. As a result of this proactive outreach, I was able to present to my son’s class about Sikhism and even explain some of the major events and historical moments of our culture. The Sikh Coalition helped me gather the necessary resources – all I had to do was send an email asking them for help.

Working with the Sikh Coalition and using their resources empowered me to engage my school district and eventually, with the help of Sikh Coalition staff and presenters, conduct Sikh awareness presentations for more than 35 classes, reaching every 6th and 9th grader in the Monroe-Woodbury School District. In total, more than 1,200 students and educators learned about the basic tenets of Sikhi from Sikh community members in the greater New York state area. Click here to watch my video testimony about this amazing opportunity.

I learned early on that being proactive gives you, the parent, a platform to talk about Sikhism. This means that not only will your child’s classmates feel more comfortable asking questions, but the teachers feel more educated about Sikhism, too. It also means that Sikh children in your community would likely have more inclusive and informed interactions with their peers and teachers.

At the end of the day, all parents are working to ensure the well-being of our children – the Sikh Coalition is able to help you take these efforts to the next level by providing you with the education and resources to speak on these issues in a way that will resonate with audiences. Click here to learn more about my story and see how you can get involved in your community.

Chardi Kala,

Ishmeet Kaur
Sikh Community Member and Parent
Central Valley, NY

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