Elementary School Resources for Sikh Celebrations
On March 23, the Sikh Coalition launched Sikh Celebrations: Lessons & Activities for Inclusive Classrooms
ahead of this year’s Vaisakhi celebrations! Whether your children are attending school in-person or online, these classroom resources can be used to ensure that students have a chance to learn about Sikh celebrations through fun activities. Download Sikh Celebrations for free.
The classroom resources include four major Sikh celebrations: Vaisakhi, Bandi Chhor Divas, Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurpurab, and Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Gurpurab. For each celebration, the resources include greeting cards, classroom presentations with talking points, and arts and crafts activities. Watch our Instagram Live with @thatpunjabimom
and learn how you can use each of these resources to celebrate Vaisakhi in your child’s classroom this April.
COVID-19 Guidance for Vaisakhi
As Vaisakhi approaches amidst both increasing vaccinations and developing variants of the virus, it is critically important to stay aware of Centers for Disease Control (CDC), national, state, and local public health guidance. In general, the CDC continues to recommend against medium- and large-sized gatherings. In addition, those responsible for gurdwara programming should continue to keep safety protocols in place and enforce them. Click here
to review the CDC’s guidance on Personal and Social Activities.
The CDC also released guidance for fully vaccinated people
in March. Per this guidance, it is critically important to remember that fully vaccinated people could still transmit COVID-19 to unvaccinated people. Unvaccinated sangat members who are aged 65 and older and/or who have medical conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 should strongly consider not attending gatherings.
Lastly, late last week, the CDC also released guidance on domestic and international travel for fully vaccinated people. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people traveling within the United States “do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take precautions while traveling–wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently.” Read our summary of the guidance in English
$1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Federal Relief Analysis
On March 11, President Joe Biden signed into law
the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion pandemic assistance relief package. This law is part of a package that President Biden unveiled in January to provide more direct payments to Americans and give more assistance to those who remain at risk a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
This latest federal assistance provides the largest stimulus check yet for most Americans; it also provides tax credits for children, reduces tax liability for forgiven student loans, and provides funding for reopening schools. Read a high-level summary, in English
, of what the new stimulus bill means for you and your family here in the United States.
California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum to Include Sikh Stories
On March 18, the California State Board of Education met to discuss and adopt the final draft of the state’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). Now, the ESMC will include meaningful representation of Sikh American history, stories, and contributions to the state of California.
For months, the Sikh community in California advocated in favor of a robust ESMC. In March of 2020, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement rallied 52 gurdwaras and more than 1,200 petition signers to endorse our recommended additions and lesson plan for the curriculum. Hundreds of Sikh community members provided written and spoken public comment, and a bipartisan group of 25 California assemblymembers and state senators joined a letter in support of these efforts last October.
While pushing for positive Sikh representation, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement fully support the efforts of many other marginalized groups to advance anti-racist education for all. Accordingly, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement will continue to work with colleagues connected to the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute to ensure that legitimate and comprehensive educational materials are created and distributed to support the implementation of Ethnic Studies in classrooms at the school district level.
Updates on #FarmersProtest Work
The Sikh Coalition continues working to bring attention to human and civil rights violations at the ongoing farmers’ protest and pushing for elected officials to take action to condemn the Indian government for their anti-democratic response.
In the last month, our media and communications team successfully pitched and placed a feature in CNN about the work of New Jersey’s Dr. Swaiman Singh, who has been providing on-the-ground medical support
to protestors since December. Additionally, we provided interviewees for a New York Times story highlighting the plight of India’s farmers
and why current economic conditions drive them to protest. A recent Baaz News feature also referenced our efforts engaging U.S. lawmakers
on this issue, as well as our advocacy tool
that empowers Americans to write to their members of Congress.
for more information about the Sikh Coalition’s work around the farmers’ protest. We look forward to providing further updates in the weeks ahead.
Watch Vaccine ਵੀਰਵਾਰ At Home
This week, the Sikh Coalition launched a new bi-weekly series for Facebook and Instagram to ensure Sikh community members across age groups have access to information in Punjabi about the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines, and best safety practices.
In our first episode on Thursday, Dr. Jaswinder Sandhu, MD, FCCP joined us to discuss the latest CDC guidance for vaccinated people and how community members can celebrate Vaisakhi safely this year. Dr. Sandhu also answered audience questions about COVID-19 and vaccines; click here
to watch the episode on Facebook Live now.
Every other week, the Sikh Coalition will sit down with medical experts and community leaders on Vaccine ਵੀਰਵਾਰ. Be sure to follow the Sikh Coalition on Facebook
to receive notifications of when we go Live next!
Ongoing Work to Resettle Afghan Sikhs and Hindus
On March 25, the Sikh Coalition marked one year since the 2020 attack on a gurdwara in Kabul, Afghanistan, where terrorists affiliated with ISIS stormed a crowded gurdwara and housing complex, killing 25 worshippers and injuring 8. At the time, terrorists affiliated with ISIS then gave Afghan Sikhs and Hindus an ultimatum to leave the country or face eradication; since then, the community has faced further attacks and threats.
In 2020, the Sikh Coalition worked with Sikh community leaders and allied organizations to urge the U.S. State Department to take immediate emergency measures to resettle these families through refugee protections under the Fiscal Year 2020 U.S. Refugee Assistance Program. In the year since, a small group of Afghan Sikhs has decided to remain; many have temporarily resettled in other countries, where they remain stateless. All of these circumstances are untenable.
Thanks to the previous tireless work of U.S. community leaders, President Biden issued a statement of support
for safely resettling Afghan Sikhs and Hindus while he was running for president. We are grateful for President Biden’s previous verbal support and recommitment to raising the global refugee admissions cap to 125,000 as we continue to work with this new administration to prioritize the safe resettlement of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus.
Virtual Panel on Women’s Leadership
On March 22, Executive Director Satjeet Kaur joined a virtual panel on “How Religious Actors Are Advancing Women’s Participation & Leadership in Public Life.” As the discussion focused on best practices, lessons learned, and a way forward in upholding and advancing women’s leadership and participation, Ms. Kaur provided insight as it relates to the Sikh Coalition’s 2020 Get Out The Vote election efforts.
Thank you to the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, Religions for Peace, Cordaid, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, and Mina's List for sponsoring this discussion and inviting the Sikh Coalition. See the full list of co-panelists and watch the recorded panel event here
Challenging Anti-AAPI Bias
On March 30, Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy Sim J. Singh joined a virtual panel on “Challenging Anti-AAPI Bias” hosted by the New York State Division of Human Rights. Additional panelists included Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul, Jo-Ann Yoo of the Asian American Federation, and Scott Richman of the Anti-Defamation League's New York/New Jersey Office.
During the panel discussion, Mr. Singh shared the Sikh American community’s response to hate during the post-9/11 backlash and what lessons can be learned to more effectively combat discrimination and hate against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The Sikh American community continues to stand in solidarity with all communities targeted by hate and discrimination, and we will continue advocating to protect the civil and human rights of all.
In this Issue