SS Shanti Kaur explained that activism is taking action to effect social change. Our Sikh history is full of activism, of standing for righteousness, freedom and social justice. There is a changing landscape and it’s important that we are educated so we can help others. Hate crimes are on the rise and there is a growing level of intolerance. She invited representatives from our non-profits to share how they are addressing these issues.
SS Ek Ong Kaar Kaur from Sikhnet shared that SikhNet reached out to other Sikh organizations after the initial Muslim travel ban and hosted weekly calls so all the organizations could interface about their issues off concern, and any actions they were taking. The main concerns were about discrimination agains Sikhs, Gurdwara safety, questions about immigrants seeking sanctuary in Sikh Gurdwaras and creating positive visibility for Sikhs.
MSS Nirvair Singh from KRI shared that KRI is working to highlight the value of inclusion and how they can make our teaching materials and training more inclusive to serve underserved communities around the world..
SS Pritpal Kaur from 3HO – 3HO started a 40-day meditation on inauguration day creating a unified prayer to create change. They feature models on their site who represent all races and gender orientation and they are working with members of the LGBTQ community to recognize their needs. Pritpal Kaur shared that it is most important to give people hope and inner strength to go through challenges. 3HO’s intention this year was to make Peace Prayer Day a truly interfaith event.
SS Shanti Kaur of SDI attended the Mai Bhago Leadership Group for women activists. They addressed how to maintain our energy for the long run? How do we answer the call?’
Guru Sangat Singh from Sikh Dharma of Virginia shared that In the Herndon, VA Gurdwara they are actively supporting individuals with immigration issues, writing letters to courts and attending trials and hearings to show community support, helping individuals find jobs and housing, disseminating know-your-rights information in the Gurdwara in both English and Punjabi, and developing lists of attorneys and non-profit immigrant aid organizations. In collaboration with other Gurdwaras, they have in writing, condemned all hate crimes. Guru Sangat Singh suggested participating in interfaith organizations, holding vigils and panel discussions, sponsoring Seva projects, and developing relationships with elected officials and law enforcement.
Siri Chand Kaur spoke about what the Espanola community is doing. They formed an action group which is reaching out to the broader Espanola community.
The Khalsa Council then broke into small discussion groups to discuss the following question: Given the current social and political climate, as a dharmic, conscious community, what is our unique way of serving humanity at the current time: as individuals, as communities around the world, and as non-profit organizations.