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The Sikh Coalition News
October 26, 2020
  • Important California Updates: Ethnic Studies and Sikh Awareness Month

    October 26, 2020 (Sacramento, CA) -- As November quickly approaches, the Sikh Coalition wants to provide two relevant updates that impact California Sikhs.

    First, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement continue to fight together for the accurate and meaningful inclusion of Sikhism in the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC).

    On September 30, another round of public comment on California’s ESMC concluded, with more than 700 Sikh Californians contacting the state’s Department of Education to tell them to #StopIgnoringSikhs. These efforts were joined by a bipartisan letter signed by 25 California assemblymembers and state senators, as well as the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement’s own public comment submission, which was delivered directly to the Department of Education, Instructional Quality Commission, and the State Board of Education. On October 23, both organizations also met with California Superintendent Tony Thurmond to discuss Sikh representation.

    The fight for Sikh inclusion in the ESMC continues, and there will be another public hearing in November, followed by an additional round of public comment. Stay tuned for relevant updates pertaining to this important advocacy work over the course of the next few weeks.

    Second, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the California state legislature will not officially designate November as California “Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month” (SAAM). In May 2020, Assemblymember Ash Kalra introduced the annual SAAM resolution; as has been the case for eight years, it was expected to pass. However, due to COVID-19, the state legislature had to limit the business it prioritized, and resolutions like SAAM were cut.

    The failure of the state legislature to officially designate 2020 as SAAM is an anomaly, and it is fair to expect that this is an exception due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic. The state designation does not preclude municipalities and local government agencies from declaring their own SAAM resolutions or proclamations. However, due to the constraints of the pandemic, the Sikh Coalition will not be activating community engagement to recognize or celebrate SAAM locally this year in order to prioritize health and safety concerns.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

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