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California: Five million reached during Sikh awareness month

December 11, 2014 | By

Fremont, CA: For the fourth year, California state legislature declared November as Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month “to afford all Californians the opportunity to understand, recognize, and appreciate the rich history and shared principles of Sikh Americans.” The statewide proclamation opened the door for Sikh Americans to expose over 5 million Californians to Sikh awareness information. California continues to be the only state in the country to have an entire month designated to recognizing and raising awareness about Sikh Americans.

“Through grassroots efforts, the Sikh Coalition mobilized hundreds of Californian Sikhs to have their cities also recognize the month, organize educational and awareness events, lead presentations, engage with their elected officials and display information about Sikhs in public spaces. Click here to see a list of projects that were developed by the Sikh Coalition for Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month” reads a community release by the Sikh Coalition.

Below are highlights of successful initiatives from across California:

Sikh Awareness Presentations:

Sikh Awareness presentations were delivered to almost 1,000 individuals across California in schools, law enforcement agencies, libraries, community organizations and prisons. These presentations have been very well received and are creating opportunities for additional sessions to be held across the state.

Government and Media Engagement:

16 Sikh Awareness resolutions and proclamations were passed in the cities of San Joaquin, Lathrop, Tracy, Ceres, Manteca, Modesto, Elk Grove, Bakersfield, San Jose, Santa Clara, Santa Ana and Los Angeles, in addition to the Fresno County Office of Education, Elk Grove Unified School District and West Contra Costa County School District and a campus-wide resolution at California State University, Fresno. These proclamations not only acknowledge their Sikh communities but also provide for educational opportunities. The Sikh Coalition thanks the following advocates and community members for their efforts: Ameet Singh Birring, Vincent Tran, Bobbie Singh-Allen, Harbir Bhatia, Silicon Valley Gurdwara, Jass Sangha, Parminder Sahi, Baljit Soni, Dr Andrew Fiala, Danita Melton and the Sikh Council of Central California.

Community Engagement:

The Fresno County Office of Education created an educational video about Sikhs for 32 school districts, which will be used to educate students about Sikh history and beliefs in the area and beyond.

Close to two dozen libraries displayed Sikh books, posters and other educational information in both public and school libraries reaching thousands of Californians.

The Fresno Police Department invited the Sikh Coalition back to deliver a presentation on Sikhs, providing officers with helpful tips on how to interact with Sikh Americans. Close to 50 officers attended from over ten police agencies in the Central Valley.

“As unique as it is to have an official month to recognize and learn about the Sikh community, Sikh awareness efforts don’t stop here. Let’s continue to educate and inform our neighbors and colleagues about our community all year round” the Sikh Coalition release reads further.

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