Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Jakara Movement had a very full and productive 2020. From workshops and conferences to outreach and spreading awareness, we did a little bit of everything this year. Here is a snapshot of our events in 2020 and some of the great work that has been happening throughout California.
Ask a Professional: Video Series
Our Ask a Professional Facebook Live brought forth professionals from different fields to address various issues and topics important to our Sangat. You can visit our Ask a Professional Webpage to re-watch our different interviews and conversations.
Baba Budha Ji Fund for California Gurdwara Sevadaars
In the summer of 2020, the Jakara Movement and Punjabi Radio USA, in collaboration with the entire Sangat, raised $178,000 through a fundraiser for California Gurdwara Sevadaars facing financial crisis through Covid-19. We are thankful to all the Sevadaars who are serving Guru Maharaj and the Sangat, and connecting us with Sikhi. We are indebted to all the Sangat who contributed to this cause and helped the Sevadaars who were going through a severe financial crisis. You can view more data on their conditions by clicking here.
Bhujangan & Bhujangi Youth Leadership Camps
Bhujangan and Bhujangi are our two summer youth camps to help teenage students build a sense of community and strengthen their leadership skills. Typically, these are held in person, but we had to adapt the camps to make them virtual this year.
Jakara Movement played a key role in California for getting our Punjabi Sikh community to complete the US Census. By completing the Census, we can show that our community has a large population and then we can advocate for more resources. In California, Jakara Movement did in-person and over-the-phone outreach to encourage families to complete the Census and to help answer questions. In total, we contacted 25,000 houses in-person during canvassing in February and March. We also contacted 103,000 households over the phone during the summer!
COVID Relief Fund for Undocumented Migrants
When a building is burning, look to those who are running into it. Look for the helpers. This summer, we had the opportunity to provide $184,500 in grants to 369 undocumented migrants in California. These are our brothers and sisters who are toiling in the kitchens of your favorite restaurants, the ones working 12 hour shifts on minimum pay at our convenience stores and putting the food from the fields of the Central Valley onto your kitchen table. We heard their stories. We empathize with their struggles. We bring you their raw conditions as told to us directly by them. See the data for yourself in these charts.
Lalkaar is Jakara's longest-running event. It is our annual conference for college students and young professionals to discuss critical topics within the Sikh community. This year, we hosted Lalkaar virtually and discussed Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
Movies that Matter
Since August, we have been screening films that provoke our thoughts and our emotions. We watch a film together and then have deep, meaningful discussions about the film. The films we have watched together include: Stockton on My Mind, We are the Radicals, Waking of Oak Creek, and Final Assault.
Punjabi Back to School Night
This year, Jakara Movement hosted its first Punjabi Back to School Night. This was an opportunity for parents to learn more about how schools are being run this year. We discussed how parents can support their child’s education virtually.
Sikhiya - College App Assistance
Sikhiya is one of Jakara's annual programs to help high school students with college applications and to help undergraduate students with graduate school applications. We connected dozens of students virtually with mentors to help them with their applications and essays.
Sikholars & Sikh History Day
The Sikholars Sikh Graduate Student Conference featured great presentations and discussions around: Sikh Heritage Sites Beyond Borders, Sikh History on the Streets of London, Navigating Culture and Mental Health, The Claim for Authenticity in the Sikh Tradition, Auto-ethnographic Tales of Gurbani Kirtan and Justice for Saka Nakodar 1986. Click here to see pictures form Sikholars 2020! Alongside Sikholars, we also held our statewide Sikh History Day Competition! High school students from Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento and the 209 presented their projects on how Sikhs have broken barriers throughout the years.
Unemployment Application Assistance
At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many community members had difficulty navigating the unemployment process and how to complete paperwork. There is no Punjabi language assistance for unemployment in California. We worked one-on-one with community members who needed help and also shared resources about small business loans to help families who were affected by the coronavirus.
Virtual Vaisakhi Week
This year, we were unable to enjoy our typical in-person Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtans and celebrations. To help our sangat feel more connected, Jakara Movement hosted a Virtual Vaisakhi Week where we all shared our Vaisakhi memories and our inspirations from Sikh history.
Vision 1313 is a special cohort of students and young professionals to begin engagement with Gurbani, Tavarikh, and contemporary politics and economics to develop a vision for Sikhs in California. This program has recently launched! In our first session, Power After Elections, we focused on building power in our communities.
It is important for all US citizens to register to vote and to exercise their right to vote. In an effort to encourage people to vote, Jakara Movement conducted a series of voter engagement events in our Punjabi community. We connected with nearly 13,000 households and reminded families to vote in their local elections, in addition to the national elections.