Currently Browsing: California
Oh How I Hate the Bookstore

Really I don’t.  Although independent bookstores are often preferable (I swear I am not a hipster), sometimes even Barnes and Noble (see a hipster would never go there!) or Borders (are they even in business?) will do.

Since I was a kid though, I would always look for books that might have anything remotely to do with Sikhi.  The closest we get in our American bookstores are some comprehensive book on religion, usually in the bargain section, and written by some crackpot.  This one is presented to you by a professor at Cambridge (@blighty, where you at?)

Oh the bane of my childhood.  Then as in now – this is what we get.

Here is the cover….

book_cover1.jpgOk, fair enough, nothing really wrong about that.  So now let us flip the the chapter on Sikhi.  Let’s see what we find….



Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand there we go….first sentence!  When can we move beyond this?  The community  has.  When will academics and other popular writers move beyond this disinformation that later does get parroted by young Sikhs.  Suggestions?

For those interested.  The professor’s email address can be found here and his facebook page here.  Maybe we can message him?  DO IT RESPECTFULLY!!!!!!  WE ARE JUST INFORMING, NOT ACCUSING!

To Send or Not to Send My Kids to a “Sikh” School?

punjabi_school.jpgHow would you answer this question?

At least for the first time in the US, parents will now have the option.  Although billed as a “Punjabi” school, the Sikh sangat in Sacramento [The Sikh community of Sacramento seems to find itself in the limelight quite a bit recently] seems ecstatic that a long time dream in the community can now become a reality.  The Sacramento Bee reports:

West Sacramento will be home to the first public Punjabi charter school in the country this fall.

Approved by the Washington Unified School District board this month, the Sacramento Valley Charter School will teach the language and culture of Punjab, a region in northern India and Pakistan.

The publicly funded school will be independently operated by a newly created Punjabi nonprofit. Serving kindergarten through sixth grades, the nonsectarian charter school will be located on a property owned by and next door to the Sikh Temple of Sacramento in West Sacramento. [link]

Although the organizers of the school will be quick (and correctly so) to state that it is NOT a Sikh school and is rather a “non-sectarian” Punjabi school, but with such an intimate relationship with the Gurdwara (at least geographically) and by judging from some of the names of the staff, it does seem clear that it is a “Sikh” (to use the term culturally) school and not what have been called “Khalsa Schools”.  Ok enough of the semantics and on to my questions.


150+ Revolutionaries – Answering a Lalkaar

Guest-blogged by Mewa Singh.  Mewa Singh is a sevadar with the Jakara Movement.

Previously, here in The Langar Hall, there was a discussion by Navdeep Singh on an important panel discussion, held in NYC, on faith, feminism, and Sikhi.  Brooklynwala had asked for a comment and report about Lalkaar 2011, and I am more than happy to oblige.

However, before getting into that, I wanted to strongly encourage our Sikh youth sangat throughout California to come to Fresno/Kerman this coming weekend for an amazing opportunity.  While most Sikh organizations depend on large contributions by high-fly financiers with their own set of pre-conditions, Sikh youth organizations such as the Jakara Movement and the Sikh Activist Network do not.  The Jakara Movement’s biggest donors are its own members, making small contributions and the sweat and blood of its own members that come every year to sell fireworks.  This is truly grassroots, where the youth give their own labor for causes and projects they love.  Check out the video, follow the facebook event page to sign up, and then click below the fold for my report on Lalkaar 20111.

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Sarbat da Bhala in Action in Sacramento

As the Sikh community in Sacramento continues to grieve the losses of hate crime victims Surinder Singh and Gurmej Singh Atwal who were gunned down earlier this Spring (with no suspects still), the Sacramento Sikh Temple has truly embodied the Sikh spirit of sarbat da bhala this past week, extending a hand of solidarity to the gay community.

The Sacramento Sikh Temple is offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of a violent hate attack on 26-year-old Seth Parker, who believes he was beaten because he is gay in the parking lot of the Strikes Family Entertainment Center in Elk Grove (the same area with Singh and Atwal were shot).  Parker was punched in the face, suffering multiple facial fractures, while the attackers directed homophobic slurs at him.

A spokesperson for the gurdwara stated: “The Sikh Community condemns this disgusting attack motivated by ignorance and hate.  In light of the recent murders of two Sikhs in Elk Grove and the hate crime conviction in Yolo County (of two men who attacked a Sikh taxi driver), we are especially sensitive to such crimes. We hope that our reward will help bring these criminals to justice.”

With homophobia rampant in the Sikh community, this action taken by the Sacramento Sikh community is truly courageous.  They are setting a powerful example of how meaningful, lasting social change is made.  Bigotry targeting our community will never truly end unless bigotry targeting  all communities ends.  The same hateful, ignorant logic that causes people to attack Sikhs causes others to attack our LGBT brothers and sisters.  And our Muslim brothers and sisters.
The First Youth Camp for At-Risk Sikh Boys

Bhujangi_English.jpgDo you know a young boy, ages 13-16 that may have:

  • problems in school or with family
  • exhibiting low self-esteem or low motivation
  • making poor peer and relationship choices
  • defiant of authority
  • refusing to take responsibility
  • experimenting with drugs and alcohol

Maybe some of this describes your nephew, maybe a cousin, maybe a brother, maybe even a son.

There is a unique opportunity for them.  It is a first in our community.

We have long heard about the problems of Punjabi masculinity, anger problems, substance abuse that are facts in our community.  The cases in Surrey are the most well-known and documented.

We need community solutions.   Here is one.  The Jakara Movement is attempting to reach out to young boys, before these problems become truly manifest.  For the first time, they are conducting the Bhujangi Youth Academy from August 1-10, 2011 in the Kings Canyon National Park, California.

The camp will consist of classes, outdoor adventures, fitness, and fun in a Gurmat environment.

The website is still being developed, but they are looking for both PARTICIPANTS and VOLUNTEERS for this unique experience.

There are LIMITED spots open for participants.  Look at the details and APPLY NOW! (before 6/24/2011)

If you seek to be a member of the staff – maybe you have reclaimed your life, maybe you enjoy working with the youth, maybe you have a passion for the cause.  Then APPLY NOW! (before 6/22/2011).

Please help circulate this widely – send it to listserves, post on your FB, tweet it for us.  Help us get out the word!

RIP Gurmej Singh Atwal

While Sikhs around the world were celebrating Vaisakhi last week, 78-year-old Gurmej Singh Atwal, one of the two men who were shot in what was likely a hate attack in Elk Grove, California in March, died on Friday. The Sacramento Bee reports:

“He’s no more,” his son said. “First the kidneys went off, then the lungs and then brain. … He was shot in the upper right chest, one bullet went straight to his lungs and the other to his pancreas, liver and intestines.”

A grief-stricken Atwal said, “My dad was going to be a key witness” in the shooting. Also shot was Surinder Singh, 65, who died at the scene.

This tragic loss came two days after California’s “Sikh Solidarity Day,” initiated by State Senator Darrell Steinberg and California Sikhs to raise awareness about the Sikh identity in light of the horrific March 4th attack on Atwal and Singh in Elk Grove.

“Let us pick a day together when we are all Sikh Americans, we are all Californians and we all stand together,” state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said before several hundred members of the Sikh Temple of Sacramento in West Sacramento.

“Any attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” the Sacramento Democrat said. He suggested that on a chosen day – which was quickly decided as April 13 – civic leaders and community members could wear either a man’s turban or a woman’s Punjabi suit with chunni, or headwear, as a symbol of support.

No arrests of suspects have been made thus far.  The reward offered by the police department and Sikh and Muslim community groups for information leading to arrests is now $43,000.

Mourning the loss of Gurmej Singh Atwal and Surinder Singh (who died immediately after the shooting), we hope and pray for a day when the Sikh identity will no longer be under attack, when we can walk down the street with our dastars without fear.

Conocimiento 2011 – Knocking Down Myths on Immigration

Guestblogged by Mewa Singh


This past week members of the College Sikhs Collaborative and the Jakara Movement – created the first Alternative Spring Break – explored the issue of immigration by visiting so-called ground zero – the Mexi/Cali border.  While the surge of the Tea Party movement has helped bring nativist sentiments to the fore, the Sikh-American response on the issue has been largely muted.  In 2006, we saw huge protests calling for a more open immigration policy, led largely by our Chicano/a and Latino/a brothers and sisters.  As is too often the case, Sikhs, who are also directly affected by issues of immigration – both documented and undocumented – remain passive bystanders to the national debate.  [For those that do not know about the increasing number of Punjabi undocumented workers – including over 1600 that were caught and detained in 2010 alone, see the LA Times article ]  Even worse, is some Sikhs even support candidates that have borderline racist views on such issues.  While groups such as Sikh Coalition and SALDEF have tacitly supported the cause of immigration cause, it is a shame that we have not been more vocal.  Without standing with others (especially on those cases where we have a self-interest!), why should anyone stand with us on the issues we care about?

Day 1 – Orientation Our trip began with an orientation with our partner organization – Border Angels.


Immigration Matters

Conocimiento.jpgImmigration is a popular topic on The Langar Hall. Many of us being immigrants ourselves, if not the children of immigrants, the topic often hits home. Still anytime the topic of ‘illegal immigration’ takes place (at least here in the United States), many Sikhs believe that it is the problem of Mexicans. Despite the fact that many of us know, have family members, have ourselves come to this country without ‘legal’ documentation, still the problem is that of another.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times helps explode this myth:

About 650 Indians were arrested in southern Texas in the last three months of 2010 alone. Indians are now the largest group of immigrants other than Latin Americans being caught at the Southwest border…Most of the immigrants say they are from the Punjab or Gujarat states.

I strongly suggest Langa(r)eaders to take a look at the article.  Interestingly enough, despite the importance of the issue, few Sikhs really engage with the issue.  Most Sikh advocacy organizations in the US (SALDEF, Sikh Coalition, etc.) are sympathetic to the issue, but hardly promote action or dialogue within the community.  In fact, the institution that most deals with the issue are our local Gurdwaras.

I am pleased to announce the Sikh youth as taking a strong engagement with the issue.  The College Sikh collaborative has teamed up with the Jakara Movement, to create the first all-SSA Alternative Spring Break (ASB).  This pilot project will look at the issue of immigration through working with border human rights groups, working with families of day laborers, speaking to law enforcement officials, and visiting numerous sites to engage with the issue.  If you are free on the dates – March 23-25, 2011, do register (hey, actually do something during your spring break!).  THE DEADLINE FOR REGISTERING HAS BEEN EXTENDED until Sunday, March 20, 2011!  I hope to provide a report of the initiative afterwards.

Sikh men gunned down in possible hate crime in Sacramento

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that two elderly Sikh men were shot while going on an afternoon walk in their suburban neighborhood on Friday.  One of the men, 67-year-old Surinder Singh died from the attack on Friday, and 78-year-old Gurmej Atwal is in critical condition, suffering from two gunshot wounds in his chest.   The Bee article states:

Relatives and friends in the tightknit Sikh community to which the two men belong were not as hesitant to call the shooting a hate crime.

Singh and Atwal, like many Sikh men, had thick beards and wore turbans – traditions that have made Sikhs the target of bigotry and violent attacks since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“The turban is a big problem for us,” said Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa, chief editor of the Sikh newspaper Punjab Mail USA. “We look the same as Afghan Taliban – but we are not Taliban.”

Randhawa recalled the beating of a Sikh cab driver four months ago in West Sacramento.

The driver told authorities that two passengers had uttered anti-Islamic slurs as they attacked him and then beat a female passenger who tried to stop them. Police have since arrested two men on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and commission of a hate crime in connection with the attack.

While we don’t know why this happened, it’s hard to imagine that this could have been anything but an attack motivated by racism and hatred.  Just a few days after the horrific display of anti-Muslim bigotry in Southern California that Navdeep posted on, we have Sikh lives being lost to senseless violence….yet again.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Singh and Atwal and their families.  May Waheguru give them and the Sacramento sangat the strength to remain in the chardi kala spirit in the face of this hateful violence.
Five River Flow/Beautiful Butterfly

155029_714746265708_11710257_39141022_4499056_n.jpgSo, in the new year we’ll be bringing about some changes to TLH and we hope that one of these changes will be a better way of highlighting events happening in and around North America.

In the meantime, for our California Langar Hall family, you can catch Sikh Knowledge + Mandeep Sethi + Humble the Poet + Hoodini & King! + Povan Beats + Baagi + Push at Sol Collective on December 22nd starting at 9pm.  The event will be hosted by the very funny AKA Amazing.

Please view the facebook event page here and a video below highlighting many of these artists.  The video is filmed by the very talented, Digitology.

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SikhLens: Sikh Art and Film Festival

We have previously written about SikhLens, an art and film festival which brings together Sikh filmmakers, authors, artists and actors.  For those of you who support the development of Sikh arts, you will be pleased to know that the second annual Sikh Art and Film Festival (SAFF) will be held from November 19th-21st, 2010 at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, CA.  SAFF provides a venue for artists to present their “Sikh-centric” films, art, and music to the broader community with the intent of showcasing their talents and generating increased Sikh awareness.

main_photo.jpgThe Festival begins Friday, November 19th with a red-carpet Opening Night starting at 7:30 pm.  A youth-focused cluster will start off the Saturday events.  This cluster focuses on films and live book readings intended to incite interest and inspire youth, while teaching about Sikh history.  The focus then turns to creative Sikhs in the Visual, Audio and Entertainment Industries.  Hear their stories, watch and listen to their craft, and interact with and support Sikhs breaking ground in these unique areas. Also introducing for the first time an interactive segment on “Introduction to Film-making,”to demystify the film-making process. Rounding out the day’s events are a series of short films featuring a wide variety of genres, an eclectic mix of filmmakers, and a unique blend of topics, including special selections from the SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival. Sunday’s events start with an international flavor, with an emphasis on Sikh films and artists from all over the world.  The concluding cluster of the festival will touch upon Social Issues within the Sikh Diaspora. This segment is aimed to bring upon a meaningful and insightful look into the surroundings of the Sikh Community today.

I am especially interested in this final cluster which brings together films addressing the social issues that inflict our community.  We have spoken many times on this blog about how media and film are critical to dialoguing about important issues.  


Take Our Jobs

There are two issues facing our nation–high unemployment and undocumented people in the workforce–that many Americans believe are related. Missing from the debate on both issues is an honest recognition that the food we all eat – at home, in restaurants and workplace cafeterias (including those in the Capitol) – comes to us from the labor of undocumented farm workers. [link]

yubaupdate_1130.gifTired of being blamed for stealing jobs from unemployed Americans, and hoping to spark realistic discussion of immigration reform, United Farm Workers is teaming up with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert for a cheeky campaign called Take Our Jobs.

The union has created a website where you can sign yourself up for fieldwork. Experienced field hands will train legal residents and hook them up with the many seasonal harvest openings in California, Florida, and elsewhere.

Farm workers are tired of being blamed by politicians and anti-immigrant activists for taking work that should go to Americans and dragging down the economy, said Arturo Rodriguez, the president of the United Farm Workers of America.

So the group is encouraging the unemployed — and any Washington pundits or anti-immigrant activists who want to join them — to apply for the some of thousands of agricultural jobs being posted with state agencies as harvest season begins.

All applicants need to do is fill out an online form under the banner “I want to be a farm worker” at, and experienced field hands will train them and connect them to farms. [link]

Take Our Jobs will be featured on the Colbert Report on July 8.  Many members of the Punjabi Sikh community are farmworkers and some would even be impacted by potential policies surrounding immigration so what are your thoughts on this discussion?

Why Pay a Late Fee? 24 hours left!


Why pay a late fee, when you can register now!  Get off the fence; get a friend to join you; get ready to drive to Fresno

this summer as Sikh youth from throughout Northern California converge to explore, engage, understand, and love our Guru – the Guru Granth Sahib: History of the Sikh Soul.

Register today 5/31/10 by 11:59pm PST to avoid paying a late fee!

CONFERENCE – June 17-20, 2010 in Fresno, CA.

The event is always engaging, stimulating, educational, comfortable, inspirational and fun.

Click below the fold to see the conference agenda.


Sikhs in basketball- Singh Sensations

I recently heard about an interesting initiative happening in Southern California- a basketball camp for kids, put on by an singh_sensations.JPGall Sikh basketball team- the Singh Sensations. [Hat tip: Simrat]

On Saturday March 13, over 100 kids from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego gathered to participate in the first ever semi-annual Sikh basketball camp.  The camp was held at Khalsa Care Foundation and next door at Pacoima Middle School.  Registration began at 9 AM at Khalsa Care Foundation, and by 10 AM, over 100 participants ages 8-18 were stretching and preparing to run basketball drills in the Pacoima Middle School gym.

The camp offered athletic training- the kids ran drills- dribbling, passing, doing layups.

The camp was also part social training- members of the Singh Sensations discussed sportsmanship, teamwork, and how kids should behave on a court.

And finally, the camp was part mentoring on growing up as a Sikh- the Singh Sensations talked about how sports can be used as a metaphor for living as a Sikh.  They shared problems had experienced when playing sports in high school and how they had worked through those problems.

Sports are a great way of getting kids together and engaged, and then weaving in topics – like dealing with bullying in the locker room, when growing up Sikh- that might be uncomfortable to talk about otherwise.  Sounds like a great initiative!

Fire at Sacramento Dera

The details are still very sketchy, but it seems that a dera associated with the highly controversial Maan Singh Pehowa was burned down in Sacramento this past weekend.  Maan Singh has been accused of rape.

I write this post partially to clarify that it was not at a Gurdwara in Sacramento, as well as to give a place for discussion and thoughts.  The police seem to have some indication that the fire was not an accident, although very few details are being provided.  Could it be an arson against immigrants?  Could it be an accident?  Could it involve frictions within the Sikh community in Sacramento?  I do not know.  I would be interested to hear thoughts, especially from those readers in Sacramento.

A video from the local news about the fire can be viewed here.

Sikholars Papers are Now Available!

The young researchers that presented at last week’s Sikholars conference have made their papers available. Until March 15, 2010 they will be available at this link.

If you read the papers, we would love to hear your comments.

Sikholars Conference a HUGE SUCCESS!

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

This past weekend was the first annual Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference. From Toronto and Vancouver, from New York and Boston, some leading young researchers converged upon Stanford University.

Beginning with the topic of the scholar in Sikhi, Harinder Singh creatively discussed the views of scholarship emanating from Gurbani and examples of community intellectuals from Bhai Gurdas to the recently departed Harinder Singh Mehboob.

The opening panel “Beneath the Surface” featured papers from Harvard’s Erik Resly, York University’s Kamal Arora, and University of British Columbia’s Iqbal Kaur. Discussions ranged from the usages of the janamsakhi literature in understanding the Sikh experience, understandings of trauma by the wives of shaheeds in Punjab and widows of the Delhi Pogroms, and issues of perceptions of adolescent suicide by Punjabi Sikh families in British Columbia.

The 2nd panel, titled “Locality: Old and New” saw topics on biodiversity, the role of izzat, and voices from North Delta. Bandana Kaur, Yale University, detailed the changes of Punjab’s ecology during the pre-Green Revolution period; Mette Bach, University of British Columbia, shared excerpts and accounts from her upcoming book about the changing people, lifestyles, and interactions in Punjabi-populated North Delta; Preet Kaur, York University, discussed the understandings of Canadian law by Punjabi Sikh immigrants.

The afternoon session, “Beyond Borders,” saw discussions beyond any national territory. Ajeet Singh of Columbia University provided a critique of the historiography of Punjab/Sikh studies, from the 1960s to the post-structuralist approaches popular among some today. Arvinder Kang of the University of Mississippi discussed his role and the ongoing debates in the promotion of Gurmukhi and Punjabi on the internet today. Mandeep Kaur, University of Texas Austin, gave a literature review of medical research related to the Sikhs. Finally, Harjant Gill, American University (Washington D.C.) concluded the panel with a discussion of Punjabi masculinities as reified and displayed in Punjabi films.

Over 80 community members from throughout California attended the event. Far exceeding the organizer’s expectations, it was standing-room only in this first event of its type – a Sikh graduate conference. Attendees and participants both left excited and exuberant. The event was made possible by the Sikh Spirit Foundation and the Jakara Movement. The Jakara Movement hopes to continue with such programming annually, while increasing its size and scope.

Confirmed Participants Announced – Sikholars Graduate Student Conference

bgurdas.jpgMonths ago we announced the first Sikh graduate student conference – SIKHOLARS, being hosted by the Jakara Movement and Sikh Spirit Foundation.

Today, the confirmed participants have been announced:

  • Ajeet Singh Matharu, Columbia University, History, N/A
  • Arvinder Singh Kang and Amanpreet Singh Brar, University of Mississippi, Computer Science, Extending Gurmukhi Script into Twenty-first Century & Beyond
  • Bandana Kaur, Yale University, Environmental Management, Reclaiming Natural Histories: Biodiversity and Landscape in Pre-Green Revolution Punjab
  • Erik Resly, Harvard Divinity School, Divinity, (Re)figuring the Sikh: Theodicy, Discipleship and Narrative in Ethical Perspective
  • Harjant Gill, American University, Anthroplogy, From Putt Jattan De to Munde UK De: The Transformation of Masculinities in Punjabi Cinema
  • Iqbal Kaur Gill, University of British Columbia, Counseling Psychology, First Generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh Parents Beliefs  about Adolescent Suicide and Suicide Related Behaviours
  • Kamal Arora, York University, Social Anthropology, The Politics of Pain: Gender, Mourning and the Punjab Crisis
  • Mandeep Kaur, University of Texas (Austin), Nursing, The Sikh Patient: A Review of the Nursing Literature
  • Mette Bach, University of British Columbia, Creative Writing, The Changing Faces of Suburbia
  • Preet Kaur Virdi, York University, Socio-Legal Studies, Silence: Resistance or Acquiescence? Sikh women’s perspectives on Canadian law

A thorougly diverse and intriguing display of scholars.  We eagerly await for the conference.  We hope others can attend February 20, 2010 at Stanford University.

For more information and to read the abstracts, see here.

25 Seconds Could Raise $25,000 for the Sikh Youth

jakara.jpg3 clicks are all it takes.  JPMorgan Chase Bank partnered up with Facebook to have sort of an “American Idol” of charity giving.  The 100 charities with the most votes by December 10th will receive $25,000.

CLICK HERE to vote  for the Jakara Movement.

There are a great number of Sikh charities that are participating.  The Jakara Movement has the most votes for the Sikh groups – and needs your support to bring $25,000 to our community to support projects by the Sikh youth.  This weekend alone, the Jakara Movement had 6 events.  There were 5 camps, titled, “A Nation Never Forgets” that were hosted in Los Angeles, Turlock, Stockton, Yuba City, and Orange County.  Here are some pictures from just one.

In the Bay Area, the Jakara Movement helped host the forum “Women and 1984”, bringing scholars and activists such as Cynthia Keppley Mahmood (author of Fighting for Faith and Nation and a champion for human rights), Navkiran Kaur Khalra (daughter of the late Shaheed for human rights, Jaswant Singh Khalra), and Jasmine Kaur (a human rights lawyer and member of ENSAAF).

To keep programs, like this going – WE NEED YOUR HELP.  We are asking for ALL Sikhs – whether in the US, UK, Canada, India, Punjab, Malaysia, Australia, Africa, and beyond to rally around the Sikh organizations and provide your support.  Get your non-Sikh friends to vote too!

Log into Facebook and click HERE to vote for the JAKARA MOVEMENT. And with your 20 votes, do not forget to vote for other great Sikh organizations (ENSAAF, SALDEF, and many others) too.  Inspire and be inspired; together, we are the movement.

Please forward and circulate this widely.  We Need the Entire Community to Rally Behind the Sikh Youth!

Supporting Sikh Arts

Last weekend I attended the Sikh Lens Sikh Art and Film Festival in Hollywood. I have attended film festivals all over North America and strongly believe in their need and presence in our community. Many times, however, the events get overshadowed by the glitz and glamour – the red carpet, the photographers, the eccentric outfits… I was therefore grateful that my experience at the Sikh Arts and Film Festival was a fulfilling one – I left knowing that Sikh Arts and Films bring value to our community and need to be supported. In addition, I felt the organizers made a special effort to keep the event focused on the directors, artists, musicians, actors, authors and organizations who were present. They recognized the fact that we are all in this together. Sikh Arts and Films are only beginning to be acknowledged, there is so much potential and growth that will still occur. However, this isn’t going to magically happen overnight, and it most definitely won’t happen without the community’s support.

golden_temple.jpgI was recently told that Sikhs in the UK spend 7 times more on license plates than they do on books (yes, 7 times!). While I’m not sure of the statistic in the US, the point is clear – perhaps we’re not investing in the right places? I think as a community we have begun to establish the need to support non-profit organizations that are working to address human rights, legal, education and activism issues (although we still have a long way to go to enhance our support). However, what goes hand in hand with this is the support and advancement of Sikh Art and Media. Without a doubt, events such as Sikh Lens are helping to pave the path – however, we as a community need to ask ourselves why we are so hesitant to spend money on independent films, children’s books, on historical references and on paintings. When I think about other immigrant communities, I notice that their advancement as a community comes from their support of one another. Whether we like to admit it or not, our community is extremely frugal and competitive with each other, and unless we start to move away from those stereotypes – we will not be creating a better world for our children.


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