Announcing Iqbal Singh - Youth Center Director

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki FatehGuru De Pyareyo, My name is Iqbal Singh and I am humbled with the opportunity to serve Jakara,and more so the Sikh community as the Youth Center Director. I have been blessed to be a part of the Jakara Movement since 2007, and am truly indebted to the Jakara family for all of the love, support, and guidance it has provided me.  From a shy high school volunteer to a more confident collegiate coordinator to finally a director of the youth center, my own evolution has been tied to the opportunities and generosity the Jakara Movement has provided me in developing myself as a Sikh and as a man. Read more

Punjabis Like Me - Proud and Alcohol Free: On Underage Drinking and Alternate Choices

There are few other substances that destroy our families on the same level as alcohol.  Early memories from childhood of nearly every party was of uncles encouraging underage drinking, often inappropriately behaving, if not violently fighting, and humiliated wives and children watching it all.  My childhood friends have grown to adult men, many with kids, but nearly every weekend involves heavy drinking with terms like moderation and limits far from their vocabularies.   Nearly every Punjabi music video and song encourages abuse and destruction tied to themes of machismo, the stories we have heard and the real effects that play out in our families, extended families, and friends are tragic.  I have lost count of the number of friends/family members that have received DUIs.  While it is encouraging that topics such as bullying are gaining new prominence, we hope that when the victims and victimizers are often ourselves that we can teach our kids new alternatives exist.  Read more

Misl NY/NJ Jakara Juniors 2013

In any faith, the most basic principals mold the foundation of the community that stems from it.  As the older generation, it is our duty to provide a platform of growth for our younger generation. Being in the NY/NJ area, we do our best in providing the youth with weekly kirtan programs, monthly camps, monthly langars, annual gurudwara clean-ups, etc. However, besides gurmat, history, kirtan, and seva, rarely do we ever ask ourselves and even the youth the following: Why do we come to Gurudwara?What’s the importance of Langar?Whats the meaning behind a Hukamnama?What does it mean to matha-taek?Why are we putting money in the Golak?Whats the Nishan SahibWhy do we sit on the floor in the Darbar Hall?What is the meaning of being a Sikh? It’s the answers to questions like these that will make or break our youth. If they don’t know why they come to Gurudwara, forget about talking to them about gurmat, history, kirtan, and seva. If one doesn’t know the basic scientific method, then it is very difficult to do an experiment. Just like that, if a young gursikh doesn’t know why they come to Gurudwara every Sunday, then it would be very difficult for them to understand gurmat. Read more

Hiring Southern California Community Organizer

Join the Movement as the Southern California Community Organizer The Jakara Movement with the Guru’s Nadir (Grace), seva of our volunteers, and the baksh (benediction) of the Sangat is pleased to announce our fourth employment position.  We are seeking a Southern California Community Organizer to help develop the gambit of Jakara Movement programs and chapters (misls). Position Title: Community Organizer Organizational Relationship: Reporting to the Executive Director General Summary: The Jakara Movement Community Organizer will recruit, develop, retain and train a chapter’s volunteers, help them organize communities, and implement community campaigns and actions. Read more

Justice for Parminder Singh Shergill - SIGN PETITION!

UPDATE December 31, 2014   On December 31, 2014, the Lodi Police Department released the joint-commission memorandum on the killing of Parminder Shergill.  They justified the shooting and the officers' fateful decisions on that day.  The Jakara Movement has questions about the memorandum, especially in light of growing citizenry questions about the ability of the District Attorney's office to hold officers accountable.  We will be conferring with the family and other community members about future steps.  For the memorandum report see here and for the family reaction to it, see the following article.       UPDATE May 8, 2014 SIGN PETITION - On May 7, 2014 Jakara Movement members stood in solidarity with Shergill Family members at the Lodi City Council meeting.  We will be working to add the Shergill case into the Lodi City Council's Agenda items and continue to push for justice and to make sure such events do not happen in the future. Read more from Media Reports on Meeting at Lodi City Council: "Jakara Movement Hopes to Further Discuss Parminder Shergill Shooting in Lodi" from Lodi News.   "Family of Veteran Killed by Police Demands Answers from City Council" from Fox40. And the excellent continuing coverage by the Sacramento Bee's Cynthia Hubert - "Lodi Council Questioned About Fatal Shooting of Mentally Ill Vet by Cops. UPDATE April 20, 2014 The Jakara Movement organized a Town Hall discussion open to the public on Saturday (April 19, 2014) at 5pm at Lodi Gurdwara (12098 N. West Lane; Lodi, CA 95240).  Nearly 150 members of the community attended and we thank them.  Mark Merin, the civil rights attorney, answered questions by the community. UPDATE April 10, 2014 On April 3, 2014 - A federal civil-rights lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Parminder Singh Shergill.  We hope that answers from the Lodi Police will become more forthcoming. See continuing coverage, including the Sacramento Bee editorial staff asking key questions and raising critical points about Lodi Police conduct. See the Lodi News-Sentinel's attempt to reconstruct the events. --------- On January 25, 2014 Parminder Singh Shergill was shot dead by the Lodi police.  Born in Jagatpur (near Chamkaur Sahib), Punjab, Parminder came to the United States at the age of 3 with his family.  Graduating in 1989 from Lodi High School, he decided to join the Army.  He served as an infantryman, during the first Gulf War (having fought during the Gulf War in 1990-1) and was honorably discharged in 1995.  From the reports of his family, the strains of service were deep and Parminder seems to have been long suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon his return.  Despite the demons from his experience, he was a loving son and brother.  His neighbors in his upscale Lodi home remembered Parminder as a kind man that always waived and smiled to all on his morning walks. Read more

Bay Area Kaur Voices Recap

The Sikh female is a figure doubly marginalized – first as a minority within a larger western landscape; second as a woman, a discrimination she faces both within and outside the Sikh community. To dedicate an event to the voices of Kaurs is a small homage to an ongoing conversation about Sikh woman that is starting to take seed and that we hope to expand. On February 1, Misl Bay Area held its second annual Kaur Voices. Over 80 young women and men from all over California gathered in Berkeley’s International House to listen to spoken word and narratives, and explore artwork produced by Sikh women. After establishing the Kaur Voices space, we could not be happier with the engagement of our audience and the willingness of our performers to share personal stories. We had over 15 Kaurs and a couple Singhs who shared intimate details of their lives or their perspectives on subjects that are often categorized as taboo or inappropriate to be discussed. One Kaur discussed her personal struggle with mental illness, highlighting how imperative it is that we address mental illness as a community rather than isolate those who might be affected. A Singh discussed his mother’s journey in the face of an abusive husband. And another Kaur shared an anonymously submitted story written about two Kaurs in love with each other.  Thank you to all who came out! We are also very excited to be expanding Kaur Voices events to Los Angeles, Minnesota and Maryland this coming spring! Please check back for more details.       

What's in store for 2014!

Misl MN is super excited to share what we have in store for 2014! We want to focus this year on Sewa, Sangat, youth and women empowerment. We will be doing this by hosting our first ever Kaur Voices this coming April. We hope to inspire our Kaur sisters to share their talents and spread awareness of equality within our broader Minnesota community. We also plan to throw our 3rd Jakara Juniors camp in June. We feel like we are finally at a point where we can execute, get volunteers and actually have value added conversations with the youth. It’s only going to get better from here! Lastly, we will be facilitating workshops for high schools kids every month. Here we will discuss issues the youth are facing and provide mentors where kids can have a resource to answer questions involving; college, resumes, homework, and much more! This is a glimpse of what we want to accomplish, please join us on our journey!

Misl Fresno 2014 Calendar (Feb-May)

We hope you are having a wonderful New Year. Misl Fresno Council is planning events for the next six months.  We are extremely excited about our programs from Social events to Seva events; whether you've attended in the past or if this will be your first time, please join us; we're friendly! :) February: Friday - February 7th (Regional Meeting/Bowling/Billiards) 6-8pm; Movie (10pm) Thanks to all that came out! Tuesday - February 11th (Poverello House) 4:30pm-6pm.  Thanks to all that came out! Check out the pics! Tuesday - February 25th (ENSAAF's The Last Killing Movie Screening) 6pm @ Fresno State Amazing turnout! Thanks to all that came out!  Here's a pic! Read more

Misl San Antonio: Sahibzadey Remembrance Day

The children of Misl San Antonio wanted a creative and interactive way to celebrate Sikh History. So on Saturday January 4, 2014, Misl San Antonio put on this first Sahibzadey Remembrance Day. The sangat got together to remember the teachings and legacy of the Char Sahibzadey. There were over 30 participants aged 3 to 16 and they all came with their own stories of inspiration taken from the lives of Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Sons. The morning started with the entire sangat singing "Mata Gujri Kol do Heere" followed by a vivid storytelling of the events and battles that led up to this turbulent moment in history. Tales of Bhai Bachiter Singh, the battle of Chamkaur and bravery of Bhai Sangat Singh ji provided both campers and sevadars the opportunity to reflect on the honor, commitment, and discipline of the Sikhs. To dig deeper into the discipline of the Khalsa, campers pretended to sit on the banks of the Sirsa river and do Nam Simran while knowing that the fate of the faith would be decided in the next few months. After talking about the Vadey Sahibzadey, we turned our attention to the Chotey Sahibzadey. Although they were too young to fight on the battlefield. They showed courage in other ways. The young ages of Guru Gobind Singh's two younger sons aged 7 and 9 really struck the campers because many of them were at the same age. Read more

Awareness and Warm Feelings in Selma

This past week Jakara Movement took on the initiative to 'know our neighbors' around the Selma Gurdwara. We had the opportunity to chat face to face with the locals around the Gurdwara as we went door to door on Tuesday evening to provide a brief description on Sikhi, Gurdwaras, and that we would be back in a few days with a hand-baked pizza for them. For some of these locals this was actually their first exposure to anything Sikhi related and it was a great experience in which we were able to teach and learn from each other.Read the entire post here Read more

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