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The Sikh Coalition News
March 19, 2021
  • Fateh! Sikhi Included in Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

    March 19, 2021 (Sacramento, CA) -- Yesterday, the California State Board of Education met to discuss and adopt the final draft of the state’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). After several months of sustained and spirited advocacy, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement are pleased to share that the Sikh community is included in the curriculum materials and a lesson plan.

    In light of the rise of anti-Asian hate and, most recently, the mass shooting in the Atlanta, GA, area this week, it is more important than ever to ensure that education that celebrates diversity and elevates marginalized voices is prioritized in our society. Accordingly, we extend our gratitude to all parents, students, educators, and other community members in the California sangat who advocated for this major step forward with the ESMC.

    “By accurately portraying our community’s stories through the ESMC and lesson plans, classrooms will become safer and more welcoming for Sikh children across our state, while also educating non-Sikh children about their classmates,” said Pritpal Kaur, Sikh Coalition Education Director. “This could not have been possible without the support of the California sangat and your continued commitment to speaking out, writing letters, and asserting your right for our history to be taught.”

    In March of 2020, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement submitted comprehensive recommendations for improving the ESMC, along with a draft lesson plan; we then worked with 52 gurdwaras and more than 1,200 petition signers to endorse this proposal. Over numerous public comment periods, we have supported hundreds of Sikh community members to provide written and spoken remarks in favor of Sikh inclusion. And last October, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement met with CDE officials and recruited a bipartisan group of 25 California assemblymembers and state senators to join a letter in support of our efforts.

    “Sikhs and our stories are critical for a robust Ethnic Studies field, and the community’s relentless advocacy over these past several months makes it clear that we are resolute regarding our inclusion in the curriculum,” said Naindeep Singh, the Jakara Movement's Executive Director. “For any understanding of historical or contemporary California, Sikh stories have been integral in shaping the state for more than 125 years."

    While it is critical that Sikh stories will be taught as part of the ESMC, we recognize that this new curriculum comes with well-documented flaws. There are several communities that are not represented as they should be, and the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement stand by other marginalized groups who continue to advocate for more accurate representation and a more integrated approach to ethnic studies. Accordingly, we remain engaged with allied organizations like the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute to ensure that legitimate and comprehensive educational materials are created and implemented in classrooms at the school district level.

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

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