Community Empowerment and Education-CEED – UNITED SIKHS Blog http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog Recognize The Human Race As One Fri, 01 Sep 2017 23:45:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Begins Today! Are You Ready to Get Covered? http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/10/affordable-care-act-open-enrollment-begins-today-are-you-ready-to-get-covered/ Tue, 01 Oct 2013 20:39:35 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=2058 Highlights
  • Starting today, millions of Americans across the country will be able to shop for, compare and enroll in more affordable health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

  • UNITED SIKHS supports the #GetCovered project to educate communities about the importance of open enrollment in the new Marketplace.

  • For further assistance, contact ceed-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

October 1, 2013 — Starting today, millions of Americans across the country—for many of whom health insurance was just a dream before the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”)—will be able to shop for, compare and enroll in more affordable health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

To maximize the enrollment of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, UNITED SIKHS has joined a national outreach strategy lead by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA), and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC (Advancing Justice-AAJC).

As part of the strategy, community organizations and health centers centered in 16 target states are providing translated educational information and enrollment support to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to ensure that they understand what health reform means, know their health insurance options and are able to find a plan that works for them.

“It is important for many community members to understand what they are eligible for and what their options are,” said Dr. Rucha Kaur, Project Manager of the UNITED SIKHS Community Empowerment and Education Division. “At UNITED SIKHS, we are working with partners nationwide to ensure that the needs of our community are met and that our community members get all the support they need to make informed choices.”

UNITED SIKHS supports the #GetCovered Tumblr project to educate communities about the importance of open enrollment in the new Marketplace. The #GetCovered Tumblr will feature people from across the country sharing in their own words why it is important for them to #GetCovered. The goal is to build both awareness about the health reform law and new opportunities for coverage, as well as address questions and concerns about the law.  To participate in the #GetCovered project, visit GetCovered2013.tumblr.com.

For more information about health reform and resources available in English and Asian and Pacific Islander languages, visit APIAHF’s health reform resource center at www.apiahf.org.

For further assistance, especially in Punjabi, contact us at ceed-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

Visit www.healthcare.gov for more information about the Marketplace and how to enroll.

Issued by:

Jasminder Kaur

Community Education and Empowerment Division (CEED)

ceed-usa@unitedsikhs.org

www.unitedsikhs.org

Tel: 1-718-441-6644

Contact us | Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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UNITED SIKHS Remembers and Prays for the Lives Lost on 9/11/01 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/09/united-sikhs-remembers-and-prays-for-the-lives-lost-on-91101/ Wed, 11 Sep 2013 18:55:51 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=2026

The day has come again… the day we never saw coming…the day that changed the nation forever… the day that impacted the lives of everyone who lives in America.

Americans will never forget the tragic event that took place on September 11, 2001. A tragedy that changed the New York Skyline, took innocent lives, and brought America even closer together.

A day of great loss and sorrow has birth a nation’s love, compassion, solidarity and bravery among brothers and sisters of all races.

UNITED SIKHS remembers those innocent lives lost on this unforgettable day. We continue to pray and hold vigils for the departed and their families. UNITED SIKHS is proactively working with the United States Department of Justice to make sure events like this never happen again.

Life of the Post 9/11 Victims

While our country remembers the lives of those lost on 9/11, let us not forget those who have become a target because of the tragedy that occurred on the unforgettable day.

Being misidentified in America since 9/11 has been harmful and disheartening to those Sikhs that call America their home. Many incidents have occurred in the past twelve years that leave many Sikhs wondering when this will end. Organizations like UNITED SIKHS will continue its fight to empower and educate all about the principles and beliefs of Sikhism.

The lack of education of who Sikhs are have caused much confusion worldwide. Many see the turban as a sign of terrorism but this is not true. Since September 11, the world has been gripped by fear such that many minority communities, including the Sikh community, have suffered a backlash through misinformation and ignorance. The first reprisal killing after Sept 11 was of a Turban wearing Sikh in Arizona, who was mistaken as belonging to the group which perpetrated the 9/11 incident. Sikhs due to their unique appearance have since been a target of hate and bias crime and discrimination. Every week, UNITED SIKHS receives reports from Sikh adults and children who are victims of race/biased/hate crimes and from those being denied their rights to practice their religion. A Sikh’s right to wear his articles of faith has been challenged in schools, the workplace, prisons and other public places. Sikhs suffer increased harassment at airports because they wear the Turban.

Below you can find a list of a few of the incidents that have a occurred:

Sept. 15, 2001 — Mesa, Ariz.: Four days after the infamous attacks of 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Sikh, is shot and killed outside the gas station he owned by Frank Silva Roque. When police approached to arrest him, Roque says, “I’m a patriot and an American. I’m American. I’m a damn American.”

Nov. 18, 2001 — Palermo, N.Y.: Three teens burn down Gobind Sadan, a gurdwara (Sikh temple) in New York, because they thought it was named for Osama bin Laden.

Dec. 12, 2001 — Los Angeles, Calif.: Surinder Singh Sidhi, a liquor store owner in Los Angeles who took to wearing an American flag turban after 9/11 out of fear of being attacked, is beaten in his store by two men who accused him of being Osama bin Laden.

Aug. 6, 2002 — Daly City, Calif.: Sukhpal Singh, brother of Balbir Singh Sodhi, who was the first Sikh murdered following 9/11, is shot while driving his cab.

May 20, 2003 — Phoenix, Ariz.: Fifty-two-year-old Sikh immigrant and truck driver Avtar Singh is shot in his 18-wheeler while waiting for his son to pick him up. As he is being shot, he hears someone say: “Go back to where you belong.”

Aug. 5, 2003 — Queens, N.Y.: Members of a Sikh family are beaten outside of their home by drunk individuals yelling, “Go back to your country, Bin Laden.”

Sept. 25, 2003 — Tempe, Ariz.: Sukhvir Singh, a 33-year-old convenience store owner, is stabbed to death by Bruce Phillip Reed. It is not labeled as a hate crime. Representatives of the Phoenix Sikh community issue a statement that says, in part, “Together we can help others to evolve past hate and fear by continuing to organize to reach out to others with increased understanding, respect, and support. May our collective prayer be that God preserve and protect the honor of all people, our nation, and our world.”

March 13, 2004 — Fresno, Calif.: Gurdwara Sahib, a local Sikh temple, is vandalized with graffiti messages: “Rags Go Home” and “It’s Not Your Country.

July 12, 2004 — New York, N.Y.: Rajinder Singh Khalsa and Gurcharan Singh, cousins on their way to dinner at a restaurant, are beaten by two drunk white twenty something men. The attackers describe Gurcharan’s turban as a “curtain.” When Rajinder tries to intervene, saying that Sikhs are peaceful, he is beaten unconscious and suffers a fractured eye socket, among other injuries.

May 24, 2007 — Queens, N.Y.: A 15-year-old student has his hair forcibly cut by an older student at his high school. The scissor-wielding 17-year-old showed the Sikh a ring inscribed with Arabic, saying, “This ring is Allah. If you don’t let me cut your hair, I will punch you with this ring.” Afterward, he cuts the younger boy’s hair. A main pillar of the Sikh faith compels followers to keep their hair uncut.

May 30, 2007 — Joliet, Ill.: A decorated U.S. Navy veteran of the Gulf War, Kuldip Singh Nag is approached by a police officer outside of his home for an expired vehicle registration tag. The officer reportedly assaults Nag with pepper spray while hurling expletive-laced anti-immigrant statements. ]

Jan. 14, 2008 — New Hyde Park, N.Y.: A 63-year-old Sikh, Baljeet Singh, has his jaw and nose broken when attacked outside his temple by a man who lived next-door. David Wood, the attacker, had apparently disturbed members of the Gurdwara in the past.

Feb. 28, 2008 — Bryan, Texas: A Sikh man is assaulted in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Though the assailant called him a terrorist, punched him in the face and head and knocked his turban off, the Sikh man does not suffer major injuries.

June 5, 2008 — Queens, N.Y.: A ninth grade Sikh is attacked by another student, who tried to remove his patka, or under-turban, and had a history of bullying the boy.

June 5, 2008 — Albuquerque, N.M.: A vehicle belonging to a Sikh family is defaced with the message “F*** Allah!” and a picture of male genitalia.

Aug. 4, 2008 — Phoenix, Ariz.: Inderjit Singh Jassal is shot and killed while working at a 7-Eleven. No clear motive is found.

Oct. 29, 2008 — Carteret, N.J.: A Sikh man, Ajit Singh Chima, goes for a walk in his neighborhood. He is attacked by a man who casually leaves the scene afterward. Nothing is stolen.

Jan. 30, 2009 — Queens, N.Y.: Three men attack Jasmir Singh outside of a grocery store. Racial slurs are heard. A broken glass bottle is used. Singh loses vision in his left eye.

Nov. 29, 2010 — Sacramento, Calif.: Harbhajan Singh, a cab driver, is a attacked by passengers, who call him Osama bin Laden.

March 6, 2011 — Elk Grove, Calif.: Two elderly Sikh men in traditional garb, out for a daily afternoon walk, are shot and killed. The perpetrator is not found.

May 30, 2011 — New York, N.Y.: Jiwan Singh, an MTA worker and the father of Jasmir Singh, who was assaulted in early 2009 in Queens, is attacked on the A train and accused of being related to Osama bin Laden.

Feb. 6, 2012 — Sterling Heights, Mich.: A gurdwara (Sikh temple) is defaced with graffiti that includes a gun and references to 9/11.

Aug. 5, 2012 — Oak Creek, Wis.: A gunman is shot dead by police after he opened fire in a Gurdwara during Sikh prayer services, killing six.

May 5, 2013 — Fresno, Cal.: 81 year old Piara Singh was beaten with a steel pipe outside a Fresno Gurdwara in what police have determined to be a hate crime.

July, 30, 2013– Riverside, Cal.: Riverside Gurdwara near Los Angeles, California reported  the words “Terrorist” and “Terrist!” scrawled on the brick walls surrounding the Gurdwara and parking lot.

Terrorist, we are NOT. Terrorism, we DO NOT promote. America IS our home too. Help us to continue to bring awareness to Sikhs and Sikhism. Help us so we can make sure events like these including the massiveness of 9/11 never occur again.

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UNITED SIKHS: Filling Gaps in Community Oral Health Needs http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/06/united-sikhs-filling-gaps-in-community-oral-health-needs/ http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/06/united-sikhs-filling-gaps-in-community-oral-health-needs/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 04:32:58 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1995

Highlights:

  • UNITED SIKHS’ team provided free medical and oral health screenings
  • Promoting Oral Health and Dental care in the Sikh Community
  • Click here for more information on CEED Projects and how you can volunteer to help.

New York/New Jersey, USA – Results from an ongoing study conducted by UNITED SIKHS and partners, within the Sikh American community in New York, show that more than half (53%) of all Sikh South Asian surveyed members have never received a check-up or screening from a dentist. Identifying and acting upon this need, UNITED SIKHS’ Community Empowerment and Education Directorate (CEED) team provided free medical and oral health screenings: on April 7, 2013 at the Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar in Port Reading, NJ; on April 21, 2013 at the Gurdwara Sikh Cultural Society in Richmond Hill, NY; and on June 2, 2013 at the Gurdwara Sikh Sabha in Port Reading, NJ.

Supported by the Dentaquest Foundation’s National Community Committee Oral Health Initiative, this was the first time our health projects focused on oral health and its relationship with chronic medical conditions, such as, diabetes and hypertension. Our partners in this undertaking are the New York University Prevention Research Center, New York University College of Dentistry, many Gurdwaras across New York and New Jersey and community members.

The highlight of the event was addressing oral health promotion in the Sikh American communities in New York and New Jersey, and built a capacity for community engagement for oral health. The four-hour oral health screenings attracted over one hundred and fifty participants who took advantage of our fifty volunteers providing language support and access to oral health services such as proper teeth cleaning and flossing, preventing cavities, oral health tips, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, oral cancer screenings and oral health awareness.

Screening

Gurjeet Kaur, a community member who attended said, “It was a wonderful event and was very helpful. At the oral screening, I found that I had a cavity which I will get taken care of. I learned how to take better care of my teeth. The event was very well organized and all the volunteers were very helpful.”

Dr. Rucha Kaur, CEED manager, UNITED SIKHS, expressed her excitement of the event saying, “This is an example of community-academic collaboration where we are building upon projects we have previously undertaken in the community. More than half (53%) of all Sikh South Asian surveyed members, in our study, had never received a check-up or screening from a dentist. We recognized the crucial gap in the health needs of our community members and brought resources and partners to address and educate the community.”

Health providers were faculty and students from NYU College of Dentistry, individual doctors, medical assistants and dental hygienists, who volunteered their time and expertise. Each participant was given an information brochure to take with them detailing oral care and its importance.

Issued By:

Dr. Seema Kaur Director,

Community Empowerment and Education Directorate (CEED)

UNITED SIKHS

Tel: 1-646-688-3525 ceed-usa@unitedsikhs.org

Contact us | Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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UNITED SIKHS cosponsor and speak at the “NYC 2013: Electing the Right(s) Mayor” Forum http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/05/united-sikhs-cosponsor-and-speak-at-the-nyc-2013-electing-the-rights-mayor/ Thu, 09 May 2013 17:25:16 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1956 On Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 2pm, the Arab American, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian community of New York gathered at New York University to hear where mayoral candidates stand on important issues affecting our community.  The packed room listened in as moderator Errol Louis, of NY1, asked candidates tough questions.  Mayoral candidates in attendance were: Sal Albanese, Bill de, Blasio, Adolfo Carrion, Jr., John C. Liu, Christine C. Quinn, Erick Salgado, and Bill Thompson.  UNITED SIKHS cosponsored this event and policy advocacy and representative, Anisha Singh, asked the candidates how they would address bias-based bullying.

Anisha asked the candidates about their bias-based bullying prevention initiatives. She stated, “Three out of four Sikh American boys are bullied in the United States due to their appearance.  They were called Bin Laden, terrorist, and told to go ‘back to their country’ even if they were born and raised in the United States. Too many of our children are victims of hate crimes. In 2008, a Sikh boy’s turban was lit on fire by a classmate in New Jersey.  That same year a New York City Sikh girl’s uncut, sacred, hair was forcibly cut by a classmate.  A year later, another New York City Sikh boy was punched and harassed daily for about a year and nothing was done for him until it escalated to disturbing degrees of violence.  Those are just three examples within a period of a year.  Our children are afraid to go to school and are constantly looking over their shoulder with this fear, all at such a young age.  As Mayor, what preventative measured are you going to take to ensure our children are not victims of bullying and hate crimes in their schools?” she asked.

In response to the question, candidates and audience members gasped and began tweeting their thoughts (for more see: #Right4NY). Sal Albanese spoke on his experience working in public school education and his belief that the message must go out to the public that bullying will not be tolerated.  Bill de Blasio gained applause from the audience when he addressed the issue by stating that “we as a nation have let go of civics at a time when it is most vital for civic education to become a priority.”  Adolfo Carrion said “it will be his mayoral directive to speak to parents of children who bully other children to make sure they are educated.”  He also said that this was an issue that was “swept under the rug” and thanked Anisha for highlighting the issue.  Christine Quinn responded by saying that, “just as students are victims of bullying and are afraid to walk into their school buildings, so are the teachers and staff who also get victimized.”  To address this she posed the implementation of staff trainings for teachers and, if elected, she would visit schools with bullying incidents the morning after the incident happened.  Erick Salgado said there should be “zero tolerance” for bullying and there needs to be a hotline for reporting these bullying incidents.

John Liu stole the spotlight by speaking at length about Sikh advocacy work. He started by thanking UNITED SIKHS for our work and pointing out that Sikh advocacy groups work hard to come up with free curriculum kits for school to use to educate their students on Sikhism yet these kits are ignored by the schools.  He also pointed out that complaints to the Department of Education are not taken seriously but that these complaints and incidents need to be addressed and even tracked.  Finally, he spoke on how the NYPD does not allow Sikhs to wear turbans while on the police force and this also needs to change.  Bill Thompson agreed with Liu about getting rid of the NYPD turban regulation in order to show Sikhs are a part of and accepted by the community.

Other memorable moments at the forum included opening statements and other important questions posed to the candidates. In her opening statement, Christine C. Quinn stated, “[We should be] bringing communities together, not ripping them apart.” Bill de Blasio spoke on the need for Muslim Holidays and John C. Liu recognized that our communities suffered the most.

Other questions posed to the candidates included topics of religious freedom, police accountability, free speech, and Muslim school holidays.  In light of the “Ground Zero Mosque” opposition, candidates asked what they would do as mayor to ensure that people of faith are able to build places of worship and that no neighborhood in our city is off limits to any community.  In addition, candidates were informed that zero leads have been produced from years of warrantless spying and profiling by the NYPD on Muslim and Sikh Americans.  When candidates were asked to raise their hands if they thought the current NYPD surveillance program is unconstitutional, only John C. Liu and Erick Salgado raised their hands.  John Liu added, “America is a place of religious freedom.  How can anyone here think it is okay to spy on people just because they look Muslim?” All other candidates present claimed that while they thought the NYPD surveillance is constitutional, they think it is wrong.  Nourah AbuShaban, an NYU student, also asked the candidates to speak on the protection of free speech.

To see the buzz from the event, search #Right4NY on twitter and read comments from candidates, participants, and the audience.

 

Anisha Singh, Policy Advocate for UNITED SIKHS, asks candidates about bias-based bullying

Anisha Singh, Policy Advocate for UNITED SIKHS, asks candidates about bias-based bullying

Mayoral Candidates

Mayoral Candidates

Mayoral Candidates

Mayoral Candidates

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Part 3: Doctors’ conflicting points on Cancer and pesticides in Mukhtsar. http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/part-3-doctors-conflicting-points-on-cancer-and-pesticides-in-mukhtsar/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:05:16 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1890 Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

20 March 2013

The recent Punjab State Government Cancer Awareness Survey, revealed allot about the city i.e. Sri Mukhtsar Sahib where it has the highest cancer prevalence, cancer incidence and second highest cancer suspect at 136.3, 343.7 & 446 (in persons per lakh) respectively amongst the total districts of Punjab. The United Sikhs team went to doctors who deal with cancer in the city and also visited two hospitals for further details.

Both the hospitals have quality doctors and state of the art equipments for cancer detection as well as treatment to cure cancer. One side of medical professionals claimed that the whole cancer survey is heavily inflated with number to show the sorry figure of the state as well as the micro districts. Also, there is no direct link between pesticides and cancer or uranium in water and cancer and all the present studies are not complete and neither have they provided with any concrete evidence between the pesticides/uranium in water and cancer. Punjab being health conscious with numerous cancer detection centres have made the state aware leading to higher detection rate than other north Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh. The chief reason is lack of medical detection centres in these states whereby similar rates of cancers may arise if detection facilities in these states are as good as in the state of Punjab.

The other schools of thought claims there is a link between pesticides/ uranium in ground water and cancer as the cancers detected since 5 years had no trace in the state. High content of Uranium in water is the chief reason of cancer and many other birth defects. The excessive spray of pesticides, urea which seeps in ground water creates the problem. Also, going through the official records of the Civil Hospital, Mukhtsar, 143 cases of cancer has been confirmed which is indeed high, higher than Delhi’s 30 (approx) since 5 years. It was also figured out from the register entries that since February 2013, as data entry started since then, that the Male:Female ratio of cancer suspect is 2:9 leaving females more prone to cancer, the age group of the females recorded were between 35-55 years. It was later told by the medical professionals that females are more prone to cancer as infection hits them harder than their male counterparts leading to low immunity.

Despite the difference in the opinions, both the hospitals do their bit of awareness drives by themselves once in 3 months in the city and nearby villages to make the people better equipped with correct knowledge of cancer and getting the right treatment. It is mainly in the form of pamphlets and verbal messages in different villages. The doctors made themselves available for any kind of awareness drives in the future. Also added by them was to have cancer council centres where the patients diagnosed with cancer can be properly counselled to wipe their fears.

 

Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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Part 2: Students on cancer awareness in Sri Mukhtsar Sahib. http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/part-2-students-on-cancer-awareness-in-sri-mukhtsar-sahib/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:04:20 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1888 Sri Mukhtsar Sahib

19-3-2013

Sri Mukhtsar Sahib may not a big city with big educational institutes but over time some of the educational institutions have emerged as sought after ones atleast pulling students from north Indian states, also not to forget is the famous Government College, Mukhtsar will have highest number of seats in the area. The United Sikhs team went to 5 colleges of different educational fields for awareness campaign on awareness on cancer and organic agriculture and also to check the awareness level of the students studying in the area.

The team first reached the Khalsa College, Mukhtsar followed by Guru Nanak B.Ed College, Mai Bhago Medical College, Guru Nanak Ayruveda College and Govt. College Mukhtsar where a brief presentation was given regarding what the problem is in order to sensitise them. There after solutions were sought from them upon the issue. Students came up with solutions, some of them were specific according to their educational field. For example, the ayruvedic college students came up with a traditional therapy which is less painful and B.Ed students gave ways to sensitise students, specially the small ones which take their message home for their parents. Students from farm background gave their experiences and the problem and also expressed their unwillingness to go for organic farming as their task is huge with no results in terms of good yield.

Overall the awareness level of the students is low in the region when it comes to cancer and other problems which the city is facing right now. According to them it is the state government work to correct the situation in the city. Though some mentioned global warming, pesticides in the farm, uranium in underground as the problem but they were unsure of the same as it all came in the news. After talking to the authorities, an attempt to set awareness drives was made which can be done at a later stage for a beginning for better days ahead.

 

Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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Reminder:Grand Opening of Sikh Heritage Photo Exhibition Today http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/04/grand-opening-of-sikh-heritage-photo-exhibition/ Sat, 06 Apr 2013 03:46:45 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1898

Grand Opening of Sikh Heritage Photo Exhibition Today

Atlanta, Georgia: UNITED SIKHS is proud to invite you and your families on behalf of the Gurudwara, Guru Nanak Mission Society of Atlanta to attend the grand opening of the Sikh heritage photo exhibition.

Program of Grand Opening on Saturday, April 6

Venue: 1158 Rockbridge Road, Norcross, GA 30093
Date: April 1st – 20th
Reception & Refreshment: 4 PM
Grand Opening Ceremony: 5 PM
Guru Ka Langar: 6 PM

Gurudwara Sahib aims to create awareness of the historical significance of the Sikh community and its legacy through its exhibits. The exhibition is featuring photo displays of rare art and artifacts of Sikh heritage including Kalgi of Guru Gobind Singh, painting, photographs, and manuscripts.

Guru Gobind Singh gifted his personal belongings, arms, and handwritten manuscripts to his followers, which are preserved as rare collections. His handwritten and signed hukumnamas (commandments) are preserved in museums at Sikh Takhts (Primary Shrines). A strong urge to protect and preserve the Sikh history, its distinct identity and culture was posed. Various Sikh groups made sustained efforts to create a collection of documents and to build a repository that includes clothes, monuments, rare jewelry, ornaments, rare frescoes, tapestries, manuscripts and numismatics associated with the Sikh gurus and emperors.

Katar of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Kirpan of Guru Teg Bahadur Singh Ji
Guru Gobind Singh’s Katar, Size 20”x30” Kirpan of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji
Both Relics are in the collection of the Maharaja of Patiala at Moti Bagh Palace

The photo displays in the exhibits are:

  • Chola (robe) of Guru Nanak Sahib,
  • Personal belongings of Guru Hargobind Sahib,
  • Images of rare manuscripts,
  • Illustrated folios,
  • Hukumnamas (commandments),
  • A beautiful personal Kirpal (scimitar) of Guru Gobind Singh,
  • Breast plate with gold inscription of Guru Gobind Singh,
  • Historic khanda used at the time of the formation of the Khalsa,
  • A bed-sheet of the Guru Gobind Singh,
  • Panchkala Shastra (weapon) of Guru Gobind Singh,
  • A chakki (grindstone) used to grind flour for Guru Gobind Singh,
  • Rare photographs of the collection of artifacts in the Toshakhana of the Golden Temple,
  • A shield from the armies of Maharaja Ranjit Singh,
  • Photographs of valuable relics.

For more information please contact Gurudwara Sahib at 770-931-3490, email: atlanta.gurdwara@gmail.com.

Issued By
Jasminder Kaur
888-243-1690

 

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Becoming an Eco-Sikh !! http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/becoming-an-eco-sikh/ Thu, 14 Mar 2013 19:41:36 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1862  

 USLogo  EcoSikhPoster

UNITED SIKHS  in collaboration with EcoSikh is planning to outreach all their members and sangat about Sikh Environment Day.

Becoming an Eco-Sikh !!

15th March 2013, Fremont California:

Environmentalism and Sikhism are commonly looked upon as two completely separate theologies. It is only when we look closely at the Gurbani, we can see how important our environment is to basic Sikh spirituality.

Somehow in the mixture of the waves of immigration, and shifting our focus from an agrarian lifestyle to more post-modern modes of production, we have forgotten how intrinsic and crucial our environment is, and has been, to the existence of basic Sikh philosophy and history. We have armed ourselves with physical, political, and legal protections to keep each spiritual thread intact on our sacred bodies. Despite being miles and years apart from our traditional history as agrarian innovators in Punjab, we still maintain a spiritual thread that connects us to our past and spiritual homeland. A homeland that is being decimated by international corporations, corrupt politics, lack of regulations, economic impositions, and so many man-made health and environmental disasters. The very roots of our metaphorical spiritual hair, whose roots are embedded in the environment that inspired Guru Nanak to start a powerful religious movement, is being destroyed by our decisions as modern Sikh consumers. The cyclical impact that we have on our environment is a spiritual embedding in our beliefs as Sikhs, which is something that Guru Nanak, himself, stressed when he stated “Pawan guru pani pita mata dharth mahat.” (Air is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all).1
We must transform the question of “Who am I as a Sikh?” into “Who am I as an eco-Sikh?” Many of us will be surprised to find direct references to ecology in the Gurbani. But it is through the Gurbani where we will understand what our role as an ‘eco-Sikh” entails.

The Gurbani equates respect for every hair on one’s body to respecting all areas that God permeates, including forests, “O Nanak, He is pervading and permeating all places, the forests and the meadows, the three worlds, and every hair.” 2 If we, as Sikhs, are committed to maintaining our external and internal appearance as the gurus required, how can we ignore our duty to also maintain the environment? Caring for the earth is a not just a value that we must uphold, but is also a direct Hukam that aligns with the “Gurmukh’s path,” 3 “If someone is going to teach me something, let it be that the Lord is pervading the forests and fields.” 4 In aligning ourselves to this Hukam here are some steps that we can take to be responsible, environmentally conscious eco-Sikhs:

1. Planting Trees, replacing lawns with your own home-grown vegetables, and replacing your gardens with native plants and habitats. The Guru Granth Sahib states, “we shall reap the results of the seeds which we sow.” 5 We must engage in actions that promote sustainability for the whole planet. For more information on “food not lawns” please visit http://www.foodnotlawns.com

2. Use bio-degradable and recyclable plates, knives, forks, and napkins. Composting is a great way to minimize the amount of trash thrown out, and to enrich the soil for your gardens. For more information on composting, please visit http://www.epa.gov/compost/

3. Biking, walking, or taking public transportation instead of using a car is a great way to reduce carbon emissions in a healthy way.

4. If you cannot grow your own vegetables or fruits, as a consumer, you should choose to buy organic food from local farmers. Not only do you avoid exposing your family and the environment to the harmful effects of pesticides, but you also invest in local farmers and businesses.

5. Educate yourself and promote research in sustainable organic farming techniques.

The lasting effects of the Green Revolution that occurred in Punjab has unfortunately driven the “green” out of the revolution and has caused farmers in Punjab to look for alternative farming techniques. Heavy pressure for more food grain crops forced many of these farmers to focus on mono-cropping with the use of pesticides and insecticides. Increased dependence on pesticide use has drained the soil of its alkalinity and salinity; thus causing the soil to be unfit for growing crops, and further pressuring farmers to be dependent on chemicals to support the growth. This has resulted in irreparable damage to the farmers in Punjab and consumers. In addition to negatively impacting the environment, the use of pesticides and the depletion of the soil has caused many consumers to suffer from rare types of cancer at an alarming rate. By promoting research in sustainable organic farming techniques, areas such as Punjab and our own local farms will be able to farm organically, in an economically sustainable fashion. This will also maintain healthy soil, environment, and nutritious crops.

It is our responsibility to treat our sacred environment with as much respect as we treat our bodies and appearance as Sikhs. This is not a change that we make on one day of the year, but a lifelong commitment that we make with the environment and with God.

1. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Pg. 8, line 10.
2. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Pg. 133,, line 13.
3. Singh, Jagtaran. “Sikhism the Green Religion.” SikhNet | Sharing the Sikh Experience. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. <http://fateh.sikhnet.com//sikhnet/news.nsf/
4. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Pg. 92, line 12.
5. ” Saving Environment” WaheguruNet Sikhism info – WaheguruNet. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. <http://www.wahegurunet.com/saving-environment>.
Amitoj Singh
Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS India
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

 

 

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UNITED SIKHS highly recommends ‘My First Sikh Books’-A set of children’s board books designed to empower pre-school to Grade-1 Sikh girls and boys and their peers. http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/united-sikhs-highly-recommends-my-first-sikh-books-a-set-of-childrens-board-books-designed-to-empower-pre-school-to-grade-1-sikh-girls-and-boys-and-their-peers/ http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/united-sikhs-highly-recommends-my-first-sikh-books-a-set-of-childrens-board-books-designed-to-empower-pre-school-to-grade-1-sikh-girls-and-boys-and-their-peers/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 18:04:05 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1841 Atlanta GA: UNITED SIKHS has added My First Sikh Books in its recommendation list for Sikh Awareness Through Libraries (SATL) project. This set is a perfect resource that empowers preschool through Grade 1 children and their peers about the Sikh identity.

My First Sikh Books is a packaged set of two board books: My First Kaur Book and My First Singh Book. These books are designed to instill pride and confidence in young minds, as they leave the comfortable setting of their homes to enter their first classrooms, where they will become aware of their identity for the very first time.This is a much needed resource for little ones entering schools and a must for their classrooms.

  

Two coloring books, a glossary of terms and a brief introduction about Sikhs for the educators are also included in this set. Children will be proud to take this attractive easy to carry case to their “Show and Tell” sessions. The coloring books are a perfect family time activity and a great fit for Sunday Gurmat school sessions.

The message of these books is simple, age relevant and invokes an understanding of basic Sikh principles. The outstanding character illustrations resemble young Sikh children making them comfortable with their Sikh identity.
Reading to young children from the time they are born has proven to be intellectually and emotionally valuable to kids. This set is an excellent first book for a Sikh child to receive as a gift.

Please consider donating this book to your child’s classroom and your local library.

Read what people are saying about ‘My First Sikh Books’:

“I bought these books for my 2 young daughters. The message in the book is STRONG! It shares the Sikh values that I want to teach my 4 and 7 year old girls. My daughters were represented and the author cared enough to include the ‘Kaurs’ instead of only focusing on the ’Singhs.’  My daughters love the coloring books and feel so proud when they show these books to others. It is beautiful to see my older daughter reading the book to my younger daughter. They even read “My First Singh Book” with so much excitement.” – G. Singh (Parent)

“As a 1st grade teacher, I think these books are perfect for the audience they are targeting. I ordered these books a few weeks ago and immediately ordered more to give as gifts. The quality of these books is far better than anything else I have seen made for our community. I also like the fact that the children will be able to relate and connect to the Sikh characters in the book in a positive manner. – P. Chadha (Parent, Teacher)

“I ordered this set for my nephew and niece, ages 4 and 2. They loved them! The books are well written, beautifully illustrated and age-appropriate. They introduce the topic of what it means to be a Sikh in a fun and creative way without being preachy. It is wonderful that Sikh kids can now have characters they can relate to in books.” – M. Kaur (Aunt)

My First Sikh Books are priced at $14.99 + shipping and can be ordered from the website http://www.lohgarh.org  using paypal.

While placing an order please mention UNITED SIKHS – by clicking on “Add Special Instructions to the Seller” section. This will allow the seller to donate a percentage of books under the SATL project of UNITED SIKHS to the local elementary school libraries.

About SATL: Sikh Awareness through Libraries (SATL) aims to improve the availability of information on Sikh culture, history and religion via multimedia resources – books, DVDs, CDs and microfilms. Under the SATL project, these resources will be made available in public and private libraries, including those in schools, universities and other educational institutions, throughout the world. The objective of the project is to reach out to various demographics through multiple media to provide global access to reliable and complete information on Sikhs. Please visit http://unitedsikhs.org/sikhlibrary/ for more information

 

Issued by:
Gurmeet Kaur
Project Coordinator,  SATL
ceed-usa@unitedsikhs.org

 

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http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/united-sikhs-highly-recommends-my-first-sikh-books-a-set-of-childrens-board-books-designed-to-empower-pre-school-to-grade-1-sikh-girls-and-boys-and-their-peers/feed/ 2
UNITED SIKHS Joins Elected Officials to Commemorate Illinois House Resolution 1193, Denouncing Hate Crimes Against Sikh Americans and Other Minorities http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/12/united-sikhs-joins-elected-officials-to-commemorate-illinois-house-resolution-1193-denouncing-hate-crimes-against-sikh-americans-and-other-minorities/ Sat, 22 Dec 2012 03:46:40 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1784 Palatine, Illinois: On Sunday, December 16th, UNITED SIKHS joined the South Asian and Sikh community at Palatine Gurdwara to commemorate the passing of House Resolution 1193 (HR 1193). This Resolution denounces the deplorable attacks on Sikh Americans and denounces hate crimes and hateful political rhetoric.

UNITED SIKHS worked with South Asian Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI), Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago (CAIR-Chicago) and the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago (Palatine Gurdwara Management Committee) in drafting the language and advocating for this resolution. “We hope the resolution will provide an agenda for even more specific laws for the future,” said Ami Gandhi, Executive Director at SAAPRI.

Rep. Biss (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Rep. Biss speaking to Palatine Gurdwara Sangat (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ald. Pawar, Greg Bales, Rep. Biss and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ald. Pawar, Greg Bales, Rep. Biss and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Rep. Mussman (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Rep. Mussman  speaking to Palatine Gurdwara Sangat (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palatine Gurdwara President Sukhdev Kaur began the commemoration by observing a moment of silence for the victims of the Newtown Connecticut shooting and making a request that the congregation pray for the families of the victims. Among the elected officials who made remarks at the commemoration and the press conference that followed were Senator Matt Murphy (27th District), Rep. Daniel Biss (17th District), Rep. Michelle Mussman (56th District), Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) and Greg Bales from US Senator Dick Durbin’s office.

Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Rep. Biss and Rep. Mussman (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Rep. Biss and Rep. Mussman (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar, Vikram Singh, Amrith Kaur, Rep. Biss, Sukhdev Kaur and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar, Vikram Singh, Amrith Kaur, Rep. Biss, Sukhdev Kaur and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Community at Press Conference (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Community at Press Conference (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We are excited to work with our state legislators, faith-based groups, and policy organizations to promote tolerance and counter bigotry,” said Rabya Khan, Staff Attorney at CAIR-Chicago. “This resolution is a first step in acknowledging that there is a greater need to educate the greater Illinois community on Sikh Americans and other minorities,” said Ekta Kaur, Regional Director of UNITED SIKHS. She added “Our community and the Illinois government must work together to create further programs to help prevent hate crimes and uphold our civil rights.”

Shiva Singh, Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Vikram Singh and Rep. Biss (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

Shiva Singh Khalsa, Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Vikram Singh and Rep. Biss (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar, Vikram Singh, Amrith Kaur, Rep. Biss, Sukhdev Kaur, Sen. Murphy, Rajinder Mago, Balwant Hansra, Ami Gandhi, Gurdwara Attendee, Ahmed Rehab (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

UNITED SIKHS, SAAPRI, CAIR-Chicago and Sikh Religious Society of Chicago with Elected Officials (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

Tejas Shah, Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar and Vikram Singh (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Tejas Shah, Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar and Vikram Singh (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: Recent article by local journalist Mariam Khan, “State lawmakers’ new anti-hate resolution could boost Chicago’s immigrant-friendly drive.”

To volunteer in the greater Chicago area, please contact Ekta Kaur at ekta.kaur@unitedsikhs.org.

Vikram Singh
Pro Bono Counsel
UNITED SIKHS (Illinois)
Tel: 888-243-1690
vikram.singh@unitedsikhs.org

UNITED SIKHS – Recognize the Human Race as One

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