Support Global Awareness
Will You Strengthen SikhRI's Global Awareness Work Today?
A key component of SikhRI's mission is to raise global awareness of Sikhi. Much of the world is still largely ignorant of Sikhs, our history, our beliefs, our presence and contributions in communities around the world. Through our Global Awareness work, SikhRI partners with educational institutes, government offices and law enforcement agencies, interfaith and intercultural groups, and other Sikh organizations, in collaborative efforts to preserve history, protect human and civil rights and disseminate accurate information about Sikhi everywhere.
The problems caused by ignorance and prejudice are very real, and when one person in our community is affected, it ripples outward. Events like "Infinite Wisdom Day
" where we bring together leaders of different faiths to promote understanding and tolerance for diversity, our program on "Sikh Americans" which is designed as an introduction to the basics of Sikhi, and speakers who explore Panjabi Culture for the general community are all steps toward bringing Sikhi into the mainstream of the cultural dialogue. Our participation in Martin Luther King Junior day and Cesar Chavez celebrations of multicultural observations of the sacrifices and successes of struggles for justice and equality and September 11th interfaith memorials, put a Sikh face into the civic conversation. These types of activities define our Global Awareness efforts to make safer, more tolerant communities for Sikhs everywhere.
As with any work done by a nonprofit though, we need your support
to ensure we have the means to plan for more Global Awareness work in 2011. Please spend some time with our website
, to see in more detail what the Global Awareness aspect of our mission means to us. For the good of Sikhs everywhere and the dispelling of ignorance around the world, consider a donation
In the coming months, we would like to introduce newsletter readers to members of SikhRI's Board of Directors and Board of Advisors.
Inni Kaur is the author of "Journey with the Gurus,"
an illustrated children's book based on the life and teachings of the Guru Nanak Sahib. She is also Vice President of Spectrum Communications, an advertising and corporate design firm based in Norwalk, CN. A published poet, she is an active participant in Sikh community affairs, raising awareness on many key faith and women’s issues. She is on the editorial board of Nishaan and is a board member of the Interfaith Council of Southern Connecticut. She also serves on the boards of the MBSK
Foundation, the Kaur Foundation
and the Namaskaar Foundation.
Born and raised in Kuwait, Inni Kaur lived in New Zealand, Australia and Greece before moving to the United States in 1982. She resides with her husband and family in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Getting To Know Vahiguru
On 3 October, SikhRI's Director of Education Jasmine Kaur led two sessions of the workshop "Getting to Know Vahiguru" at the Sikh Academy in Surrey, British Columbia. Some 40 children attended, as well as 30 adults who accompanied them.
The workshop is designed especially for young children, between the ages of six and ten years old. Children walk through a Sabad by Bhagat Kabir Ji incorporating material that is readily available from nature. The workshop is intended to be interactive and engages participants with lots of questions that result in children picking up new vocabulary, developing thinking skills and and wanting to learn more when they get home!
In their feedback, attendees expressed their delight with the workshop and many asked for something like this, specifically for young kids, to be offered on a regular basis. "It taught me not to just go into the gurdwara and come back... I would recommend this to other kids too, because they will become closer to god!" wrote Dilpreet K. Bharaj, from Surrey.
Bay Area Events
Seva and Rahit
Over the weekend of 9 and 10 October, SikhRI facilitated three events in the Bay Area. The first, "Seva: Attitude & Accountability", was held 9 October in Palo Alto, CA, and attended by 30 people. The program, presented by Inderpreet Singh, explored: What really constitutes Sevā? Why do I need to do it? How can I do my part? Substantiation from bānī, tvārīkh and rahit was used to introduce participants to all aspects of Sevā and examined ways to apply it to current times.
The second event, also on 9 October, took place in Santa Cruz, CA, where 75 people attended "Sikh Rahit Maryada". Modeled after the Liv webinar on the same topic, Inderpreet Singh led participants through a collective reading of the Sikh Rahit Maryada and then attendees practiced consensus building by discussing changes and modifications to the text.
The third event, on 10 October, was held at Hayward Gurdwara Sahib in Hayward, CA, where Inderpreet spoke on the topic of "Guru Ramdas - Sovereign of Spiritual and Political Realms".
Volunteer Work Party
Gettin It Done!
On 18 September, a team of five volunteers donated a Saturday afternoon to SikhRI, lending some much-needed help organizing the San Antonio office. In the space of a few hours, five new bookshelves were assembled and 24 boxes of books were unpacked and arranged. SikhRI is always so grateful to our volunteers and the office has never looked better!
Liv For Kids: Sakhi, Kavita and Sabad Time!
On 18 September, core contributors to SikhRI's educational curriculum and the Sikh Educator's Network came together to present the first Liv webinar designed especially for young children: "Sakhi, Kavita and Sabad Time!".
The three presenters broke the session into three parts, bringing a Sakhi, a Kavita, and a Sabad to life for the children in the online audience. First, Inni Kaur took the youngsters into the land of Bhumi, followed by Harliv Kaur who engaged listeners in a poem about Seva. Finally, Jasmine Kaur wrapped up the presentation by talking about love and examples of love that we find in nature and elsewhere.
Generally, the reaction of the nearly 60 people who tuned in that morning was very positive. Many asked for a future webinar that was designed for even younger children, with lots of pictures and shorter Sabads. Parents sent in comments expressing their happiness at being able to attend the webinar with their children and asking for future session which would address other challenges of being a Sikh child.
Liv webinars have been offered free to all registrants since July of this year. However, we always welcome donations
of any amount as the sessions still have many costs associated with producing them. We have been working to update the archived sessions which are available on our web site. If you missed a Liv that you'd been curious, check out our Recordings
page in the Training & Development section of sikhri.org
and see if it's available for streaming yet!
Jaswant Singh Khalra
Jaswant Singh Khalra: An Inspiring Activist
On 19 September, Harinder Singh presented on the life of Jaswant Singh Khalra as part of the Remembrance of the Disappeared events in Los Angeles, California. The event, attended by some 400 people, explored questions like: Why be an activist?, Who should I serve? and, How can I contribute?
These questions were answered by examining the life and deeds of Khalra as a model of inspiration and the creed of Social Responsibility which can be found in the foundations of Sikhi and demands purposeful, relevant and non-exclusive service to the community to the best of our abilities.
Liv: His Life and Legacy
Another Liv session was presented by Jasmine Kaur Marwaha, an activist with ENSAAF, on 9 October. The webinar, "Jaswant Singh Khalra: His Life and Legacy", also explored the role of Khalra as a human rights defender in the critical decade following 1984, and the ways in which his work and his legacy are a constant inspiration toward renewed activism today.
Cultivating the Next Generation of Kalasingas
Last month, from 11-14 September, SikhRI spent a whirlwind five days in Kenya, presenting in Nairobi and Kisumu and meeting with local leaders and organizers. The tour, "Conversations with Sikh-Kenyans" was especially successful in that it galvanized excitement in the Kenyan community to plan future educational events.
Ashminder Kaur, coordinator for the tour, commented on the general reaction: "It was exciting and motivating for Sikhs in Kenya to interact with Harinder Singh; meetings with all ages and the leadership resulted in a new direction and focus for the community and better clarity on Sikhi topics discussed.”
Events included presentations on the role of women in Sikhi, rekindling the Sikh spirit, and a 10-year plan of action tailored for Sikh-Kenyans. The tour was sponsored by Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara. To read more about the tour, check out our press release, "Cultivating the Next Generation of Kalasingas
Sikh Research Institute exists to serve the community's education needs. As we strive to fulfill our mission of empowerment through education, we cannot be successful without the endless support of volunteers. Thank you to all of our volunteers this month who continue to inspire us with their strength, dedication, and passion!
Ashminder Kaur, Baljinder Kaur, Bhajan Singh Bhinder, Charan Kaur, ENSAAF, Ginnipal Chaddha, Gurdeep Singh Gujral, Gurvinder Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Harliv Kaur, Harmandeep Singh Wadhwa, Harminder Kaur, Inder Monga, Inni Kaur, Jagdeep Singh, Jagjot Singh, Joginder Dhadialla, Jasjit Singh, Jasmine Kaur Marwaha, Jotinder Singh Mann, Kiran Chaddha, Kirpa Kaur, Mallika Kaur, Narenderpal Singh, Parminder Kaur Mann, Parvkar S. Dulai, Prabhjot Singh, Ravpreet Singh, Reshma Monga, Sahara Nembang, and Sikh Academy.