April 5, 2022 (Indianapolis, IN) – On April 3, the Sikh Coalition hosted a free virtual education workshop for several Indianapolis sangat members to ensure that Sikhi can be taught accurately in area classrooms.
The hands-on workshop, a collaboration between the Sikh Coalition and local community organization LOK-E, provided an overview of how the education system in Indiana functions and shared tools, resources, and language that community members can use for approaching the right individuals in their school systems to prompt change. In addition, Sikh Coalition staff presented on how attendees can use this knowledge to bring inclusive lesson plans and programming to their schools. Members of LOK-E concluded the workshop by contacting local school districts and advocating for schools to provide accurate and constitutionally appropriate lesson plans on Sikhism to their students.
“We were excited to host this workshop in order to equip sangat members with the tools they need to ensure an inclusive learning environment for Sikh children and their classmates in Indiana,” said Harman Singh, Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Education. “Learning about a wide range of heritage and identities in schools is the first step to combating the kind of bias in children that can, if left unchecked, grow into prejudice and hate in adults.”
The Sikh Coalition and LOK-E are grateful to all attendees for their commitment to working towards Sikh inclusion in curricula and classroom discussions at the local level.
“LOK-E has been working with the youth to help with the bullying issues they face in their local schools. The education workshop with the Sikh Coalition taught us how we can continue to do our work with the help of additional resources,” said Taniya Kaur, LOK-E President. “Our attendees are now better equipped to work with educators as part of our larger commitment to creating safer schools.”
In early 2020, the Indiana Board of Education approved a new set of social studies standards for Indiana’s public schoolchildren that included Sikhism for the first time ever; the Sikh Coalition had been working to ensure this outcome by monitoring the standards conversation and providing resources about Sikhism to Indiana organizations and officials since 2016. In addition to advocating for many more states to similarly adopt social studies standards that include Sikhism, the Sikh Coalition remains committed to ensuring that educators have the resources they need–including guides
, lesson plans
, classroom materials on Sikh celebrations
, and more. It will take the continued investment of parents and sangat members on the ground to ensure that accurate and appropriate information about Sikhi makes it into our communities’ classrooms. If you are interested in the content that we have compiled for both educators and Sikh parents, be sure to review our free Back to School Toolkit
Finally, we recognize that this workshop took place weeks after the Indiana bullying story
and serves as a reminder of how important engaging educators is to creating safer schools. In addition, this April marks the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis. The Sikh Coalition continues to work closely with the Indianapolis sangat; please stay tuned for updates on efforts to commemorate the lives lost and the families impacted by the horrific incident in the weeks ahead.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.