November 23, 2020 -- Despite varying levels of in-person and virtual learning across the country, the Sikh Coalition has been building upon its successes in including Sikhism in state standards by reaching teachers at the grassroots level.
Throughout National Bullying Prevention Month, the Sikh Coalition has delivered multiple virtual teacher trainings on how to make classrooms safer and more inclusive in school districts across New Jersey, Michigan, and Georgia. These online sessions introduced Sikhi and the Sikh identity to teachers, made them aware of issues that Sikh children face in the classroom, gave them tools to support children who are being bullied, and highlighted relevant curricular and instructional resources for teaching about Sikhism accurately.
“I wish to express my thanks for the outstanding presentation done by the Sikh Coalition and local volunteer Raman Singh for educators here in Wayne County, Michigan,” said David Hales, a K-12 Social Studies Consultant at Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency. “This presentation not only deepened our knowledge about a religious faith that we knew too little about, but equally important, it connected us with relevant resources and a framework for teaching students in our classrooms. We hope this will only be the first step in a long partnership with the Sikh Coalition in supporting our educators and students.”
We are thankful to local volunteers in these states who helped create these opportunities, and we encourage parents and students to continue having proactive dialogues with their schools to create change.
For example, last week, we returned to Monroe-Woodbury School District in New York to deliver 19 Sikh Awareness presentations for the third school year in a row. This year’s presentations were shared virtually with the social studies classrooms of 1,200 ninth graders. This initiative was started by a dedicated Sikh mother
who fiercely advocated for the inclusion of meaningful Sikh awareness in her children’s school district for years.
Parents have also played a crucial role by signing up for more than 70 virtual classroom readings of children’s books featuring Sikh protagonists by authors Simran Jeet Singh and Raakhee Mirchandani through our Sharing Sikh Stories campaign. With dozens of readings completed and more still to come, these digital classroom visits have boosted Sikh awareness and opened up conversations about identity and diversity in classrooms across the country.
We remain committed to harnessing the transformative power of education and look forward to creating more opportunities for parents and students to advocate for safer and more inclusive classrooms. If you are a parent or student interested in spreading meaningful Sikh awareness in your local school district, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
, and we will respond with some easy steps to start taking action.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.