March 17, 2020 (Seattle and Bellingham, WA) -- Recently, the Sikh Coalition traveled to Washington to hold ten days of training programs, lawmaker meetings, gurdwara workshops, and more. With the support and the enthusiasm of all the community members we met, we are confident that the Washington sangat is more empowered to effect change than ever before!
First, on February 29, our team held a Sikh Civic Engagement Seminar
in Seattle. This all-day session helped more than 25 community leaders develop the skills to interact with elected officials, preparing them to better advocate for Sikh civil rights. After this training, we were grateful to Khalsa Gurmat Center, Federal Way; Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington, Renton; Sikh Centre of Seattle, Bothell; and Gurdwara Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur, Kent for hosting us for informational and listening sessions.
“Now more than ever, it is critical for Sikh Americans to take an active role in participating in both politics and policy,”
said Manamrit Kaur, a sangat member in Auburn. “The Sikh Civic Engagement Seminar provided us with the tools we need to engage our elected officials in an effective way. Now, we're ready to make our voices heard on the issues that matter to our community.”
Then, throughout the following week, we joined sangat members in meetings with state- and federal-level representatives
, where they spoke to elected officials and their staff about matters of importance to the Sikh community. See some of the leaders and offices that we were able to speak with below!
Finally, on March 7, we held a Sikh Presenters Course
in Bellingham for more than 20 sangat members. These attendees are now prepared to give Sikh awareness talks to schools, police departments, and other important audiences. We subsequently had additional conversations at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash, Bellingham; Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurudwara, Lynden; and Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Bellingham throughout the weekend.
“After attending the Sikh Presenters Course, I feel ready to walk into a room, meet a new audience, and give a presentation on Sikhi that is both clear and engaging,”
said Amarjot Kaur, a sangat member in Bellingham. “The first step to building bridges in our community starts with sharing who we are, and this training deck is a critical first step for any sangat that wants to start doing that important work."
On behalf of the Sikh Coalition team, we are grateful to the entire community in Washington for welcoming us and making all of these sessions a success. We want to especially thank the sevadaars, Gurdwara committee members, and sangat members whose logistical support ensured that we were able to connect with sangats across the state and address critical needs in the community. If you are interested in the Sikh Coalition bringing this kind of programming to your area, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.