California Sikh Sangat begins a campaign for inclusion in school curriculums

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Sikh Coalition and Jakara Movement poster for campaign #StopIgnoringSikhs. Photo: Twitter @Sikh_Coalition

The Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement launched Sept.1, 2020, a campaign to demand California state educational authorities include the Sikh community in their Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum conversation.

Titled #StopIgnoringSikhs, the campaign claims the most recent draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum has no meaningful or positive inclusion of the Sikh community with stories about Sikhs.

The campaign began with written petitions from 52 gurdwaras and more than 1,200 signatories. The Sikh Coalition, in a press release, claims the state educational officials public gathering August 13,  did not give all 25 California Sikhs a chance to present their testimony on this.

“The most recent draft of the Model Curriculum has stripped out or diluted specific mentions of many different underrepresented communities, including Sikhs; this will, in turn, force individual teachers to pick and choose which groups they teach about in their classrooms, and make it extremely unlikely that any teacher will include a lesson plan about Sikhs. This is unacceptable,” Sikh Coalition Education Director Pritpal Kaur is quoted saying in a press release.

Jakara Movement Executive Director Naindeep Singh said, “Despite us providing detailed examples, recommendations, and extensive community outreach, the Model Curriculum renders hardly a mention of the Sikhs, who have continually shaped California’s history for over 125 years.”

There are believed to be between 500,000 and 700,000 Sikhs in the United States, roughly half of them in the Central Valley of California.

The #StopIgnoringSikhs campaign plans to begin an email and phone call campaign directed at the California Department of Education and Instructional Quality Commission during the public comment period.

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