Change the World... Join the Academy for the youth.
Make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy.
I learnt that young people aged 18-29 are one of the most under-represented voter groups in the US - yet their values have the power to transform our nation. I also learnt that Sikhs are not currently designated as a US census category, their exact numbers are difficult to estimate. However recent data estimates there are over 250,000 in California alone. I am Hargun Kaur, a teenage graduate, delighted to be part of the UNITED SIKHS Advocacy and Humanitarian Aid Academy (AHAA) program this summer and now trained with the skills to bring a positive change. This experience is a must-have and is designed to give students like me the courage to pursue a social change, learn from history, and sustain today's effective social action for today and tomorrow. Coming from a minority group, aware of my challenges, the academy prepared me to meet them -helping to make informed decisions on my career path, exploring social issues globally, volunteering and building skills necessary to transform into a good leader. Today, I am going to request you to donate a part of your dasvandh (donation) to UNITED SIKHS to sustain the AHAA program -helping to build a build a better future- yours and mine. Leadership opportunities really begin in youth and this is where I got the emerging and most influential leadership life lessons preparing me for my big next investment into the world next year- ready to join college.
AHAA graduates 2017 -A program that takes our groups leadership skills to the next level and helps them become an influential global citizen.
(Hargun kaur-Standing row, extreme left)
The Academy program educates, empower participants to effectively combat bullying and promote a culture of inclusivity, equity and diversity. The Academy platform organizes workshops and helps network with those that decipher the policy making process, advocacy, exploring explored history, current events while examining privileges with a heavy focus on global -leadership development, social justice education and civic duties. While at the academy, I learnt the entire process of engaging with lawmakers to bring in a change.
AHAA students with Congresswoman Zen Lofgren
We also met with several Congress members such as - Congresswoman Meng, Congresswoman Lofgren and Congressman Garamendi, and were able to discuss the census, kirpan, and protection against police initiatives in other countries where human rights have a low rating. One of our focus points was advocating for the rights of sikhs to carry their kirpans in places such as airports and federal buildings. I also advocated with my team members for the inclusion of Sikhs as their own category on the 2020 census, a federal investigation into the validity of the people on the no fly list, and empowering those who are not in a position to fight for their human rights. I with other academy members were in direct contact with members of Homeland Security, the FBI, and TSA, through conference calls with various members of each bureaucracy's public outreach branch and face to face meetings with other representatives.
We students at the academy had the opportunity to meet with the U.S. Representative for California's 19th congressional district, Representative Zoe Lofgren . It was there she reassured us that she will work with other members of the Sikh Caucus to renew efforts related to the Census Bureau. She also wants to review the Federal Protective Services directive that allows Sikhs to enter federal buildings with their kirpans. It's good to know we have members of congress working on our behalf.
I was also able to meet with many other important individuals and organizations, such as Harpreet Singh Mokha, the national program manager of MASSA communities on behalf of the Justice Department, Rucha Kavathe the associate director of UNITED SIKHS for community empowerment program, and members from the Anti-Defamation League. Personally it boosted my understanding in how the government works, develop better public speaking skills, and taught me other valuable skills such as how to do conference calls, gather information through interviews, and formulate clear and concise arguments.
From my experience, I can tell you that UNITED SIKHS is an eminent organization that promulgates social values and human rights. I want to thank the UNITED SIKHS team and especially to their donors who made this happen. A BIG Thanks to you! The 2017 AHAA was definitely a great positive experience for me and I would encourage more youth to sign up for the 2018 AHAA.
Once again, please don't forget to donate!. You can also write to the AHAA 2018 team for suggestions!

Hargun Kaur
Advocacy and Humanitarian Aid Academy Graduate

Every year, students around the world apply to the UNITED SIKHS Advocacy and Humanitarian Aid Academy (AHAA), where eight selectees are trained in Washington, DC by government officials and human rights leaders to become the next generation of advocates and activists. In an age where overwhelming numbers of children--particularly those of Sikh backgrounds--face bullying in school and cyberbullying at home, it is crucial that we provide safe platforms for children to learn and grow uninhibitedly. Your support will help us bring the students of 2016 and beyond to Washington, DC for this program. Donate today to bring a positive change to the future.

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Our Mission
To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.
Community Empowerment and Education Division (CEED)
Empowering individuals and groups to attain their full potential and become active participants in society through Education, Training and Community development projects. They take their place in the decision-making processes in their local community as well as in the international arena.
International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)
Standing up for and helping protect the civil and human rights of minorities and marginalized groups in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
The Sikh Aid team provides non-partisan global humanitarian disaster relief services, which not only provide immediate aid but also rehabilitation help to the needy.
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