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Home - Empowerment & Education - Sikh Awareness Project (SAP)

Sikh Awareness Project

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What is the Sikh Awareness Project (SAP)?

The Sikh Awareness Project is a series of specially-designed, age-appropriate presentations to educate school children, faculty, college-age students, law enforcement, governmental and non-governmental professionals, and the general public about the Sikh faith, the distinct appearance of Sikhs, and discrimination and other problems that Sikhs face. The main aim of the project is to increase awareness about Sikhs in the society that we interact with everyday, and promote understanding about who Sikhs are.


Why is there a need?

Sikhs have a distinct physical appearance as initiated by the tenth Guru of the Sikh religion. Post 9/11, Sikhs have been targets of hate crimes and increased racial discrimination at school and work. There also have been incidents of police brutality in many states. These problems have increased the need for spreading awareness about Sikhs and ensuring that the innocent Sikhs are not wrongly labeled or discriminated against.


How will SAP help?

Education is a limitless tool that can reach out to children and adults alike, working to eliminate discrimination and bullying where it occurs and prevent it from happening. Only in recent years have governmental offices and private enterprises provided resources and training for staff on issues of discrimination and diversity. Furthermore, few school curriculums cover world religions, and even fewer have detailed, accurate explanations of the Sikh faith and why Sikhs have a distinct appearance. SAP not only explains the tenets of Sikhism, but also explains why Sikhs have a distinct appearance, particularly addressing the dastaar (the Sikh turban, worn as an article of faith). Children are the future, so to educate and breed understanding in them is a way to foster awareness of the Sikh identity in the entire community.


SAP at School

Sikh children are often bullied and taunted as a result of their unique appearance, and have faced an increase of bullying in the years following the 9/11 attacks and the recent conflicts in the Middle East. Studies have shown that bullying is incredibly destructive for both the bully and those being bullied; bullies often later resort to more major offenses and displays of violence, including vandalism, assault, and even murder, whereas those being bullied suffer from a lack of self-esteem and confidence for many years, sometimes to a crippling degree.


 
 

UNITED SIKHS volunteers discussing the importance of the Dastaar (Sikh turban) at a middle school

 

UNITED SIKHS volunteers conducting the SAP presentations with students

 

UNITED SIKHS has been working with schools where incidents of bullying were reported in the past. UNITED SIKHS approaches the schools and arranges Sikh Awareness Presentations to introduce the Sikh religion to the students and faculty. The presentations geared toward schools include bullying as a specific topic, paired with a separate presentation for faculty and staff regarding the issue of why Sikh students are particularly at risk for bullying, including some suggestions for preventing and resolving bullying in schools.


SAP at Work

The number of reported cases of racial profiling discrimination against Sikhs increased drastically post 9/11. Hence, there is a specific need to educate governmental authorities as well as employers about the Sikh religion.


   

UNITED SIKHS Team with the Employer’s representatives while conducting a SAP presentation


UNITED SIKHS has joined hands with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reach out to employers and government investigators and sensitize them to the needs of the Sikh work force. UNITED SIKHS is also designing training programs for employers and many organizations so as to help their employees understand the Sikh religion better.


   

Jaspreet Singh, UNITED SIKHS Staff Attorney With Bryan White, EEOC Regional Public Analyst For Public Outreach


How can you help?

You can volunteer and learn how to bring SAP into schools, governmental offices, and private companies in your area. UNITED SIKHS is currently looking for volunteers with the ability to talk to children or adults effectively to train as presenters. If you are interesting in volunteering, please email volunteer@unitedsikhs.org or call 1-888-243- 1690.


If you would like UNITED SIKHS to visit your child’s school or your office, please email sap@unitedsikhs.org.




Press Releases Links:

  1. http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-06-08-2009-00.htm
  2. http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-15-04-2008-00.htm
  3. http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-07-05-2008-00.htm
  4. http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-23-01-2009-00.htm