Confronting Violence - Ending Silence Townhall

“What have we been silent about? Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault? Is it really that large of a problem within the Sikh community? I’ve never known anyone who experienced anything like that. I don’t know what I would do if I did.” The response is honest.  The response may even be typical.  However, the response also speaks to the power of silence. A silencing so strong that the majority of our Sikh Qaum doesn’t even know it occurs. Confronting Violence: Ending Silence was an event held at West Sacramento Gurdwara Sahib that was our first step towards tackling these issues with our Sangat.  Bhagat Kabir Ji has shared - Kabir jor kia so julm laey jubaab khudai - "O Kabir, forcing another is tyranny, Khuda [Waheguru] will call you to account” The event was meant to begin a forum for Sikhs to explore our responsibility to build justice (naaiyo) and no longer remain silent or complicit to the injustice (zulm) of violence against women that infects our community.  Read more

What Does the Jakara Movement Mean to You?

How do these conferences, camps, events, and workshops all tie together?  With such an amalgamation of sevadar/nis and other participants, far too few see what the larger cause and goal is.  In recent conversations, this has become even more apparent.  So maybe it's time to ask the question - what does the Jakara Movement mean to you? From our perspective the purpose of the organization is rather simple and two-fold - 1) social justice and 2) "cradle-to-the-grave" inclusive engagement with Sikhi. Read more

Jakara Juniors: Giani Ditt Singh Day

This fall, Jakara Juniors focuses on Building Begumpura, One Nishan Sahib One Sikh Nation & Giani Ditt Singh. Young Singhs and Kaurs throughout the state (and soon Texas & Toronto) have and will be participating in Giani Ditt Singh Day. The camp focuses on equality across all lines and remaining in chardikala. The camp discusses the struggles of Giani Ditt Singh and how his determination to promote equality serves as a reminder for us today to promote equality, justice & freedom. Participants will explore how the nishan sahib serves to unite all and allows us to hold our heads high in chardikala.  Camps that took place earlier this month were a success.   Below the fold are the refelctions of Haneet Kaur about the camp held in Kerman. Read more

Adhhaara 2012 Recap

Nearly 30 young Sikh activists came together earlier this month for Adhaara 2012: Vision 2015.  Adhhara is a word that comes from Gurbani that means 'support.'  It has multiple contexts that are applicable to us.  From the Mundavni of the 5th Nanak in Rehraas, we learn that in this thaal (Guru Granth Sahib) along with three other components (truth, contentment, and reflection) is Naam.  Waheguru (Thakur) has placed this Naam that gives adhhaar (support) to all.  The third Nanak, Guru Amardas, challenges us that seva is the very breath that gives adhhara (support) to the Gurmukh.  And the fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan, reminds us that it is in the Sangat (community) that one obtains adhhaara (support). In this light, the Jakara Movement held the first annual Adhaara Retreat.  Set in beautiful Big Bear, participants from San Jose to Los Angeles (and everything in between) arrived well into the evening.  Despite fatigue from traffic and motion sickness, everyone was ready for the first workshop.  The evenings workshops started off with a discussion of understanding “why” each participant chooses to volunteer and why the organization itself takes on the issues it does.  From there the conversation moved towards leadership – the strength of the collective leadership (and its importance in Sikhi) were highlighted.  The workshop closed with the presentation of the new chapter structure and its role in the movement. Read more

Top 5 Reasons You Should Use Sikhiya: Grad App Service

Applications are out and will soon be due.  Need some assistance? Then here is a service for you! Here are the Top 5 Reasons You should Use the Jakara Movement's Sikhiya Service: Save money - there are a number of professional services on the market that provide personal statement assistance and help.  Websites like charge in the thousands of dollars for this type of service.  You're getting it for free! Expert Help - Get help from other Sikhs that have successfully already gone through the process.  They will edit your writing and share admission tips. Fast Turnaround - Most drafts are sent back within 48 hours.  Can't get much faster than that! Confidential - Confidentiality is completely respected.  After you upload your draft, your name and other personal information is removed before being sent to the editors.  All editors also sign confidentiality notes to respect the privacy of you and your writing. Pay It Forward - The idea of this type of seva works through the principle of 'pay it forward.'  Just as you will be using the service today, the hope is that you will provide this service for another young Sikh in the future. A number of Sikhs have already taken advantage of the Sikhiya program, part of Jakara Movement’s Sikholars initiative.   Read more

Top 5 reasons Why YOU need to be at Adhaara 2012: Vision 2015

Top 5 reasons Why YOU need to be at Adhaara 2012: Vision 2015  Enjoy Big Bear – go outside, sheesh!  Smell some fresh air, escape the central valley smog, the LA basin smog, and the odor that is the Bay Area.  It’s green; it’s beautiful; be there at Big Bear! Sangat! – It is in the Sangat, where we experience the Guru. Join other Sikhs from throughout the state – many that you know and some you don’t  - that are just as committed to serving the Guru and the community as you! Trust-building workshop – One of the key elements of a team is trust.  On Saturday, we are working with an outside group to help develop trust, leadership, and team work in a grassroots movement. Connecting the roots in grassroots – As we move forward, we are seeking to create new levels of involvement to create multi-level boards and levels of leadership that are more accountable, transparent, and democratic in keeping with a Guru-centered vision. Help Shape your Jakara Movement’s Future – Join us as we converse and share ideas for a rapid organizational growth over the next three years.  Be part of the process; be part of the voice; be part of the movement.  And even if you, can’t make it (sad!), send us a message and we’ll fill you in afterwards.

Announcing Sikhiya: Graduate Application Service

In an easily missed bit of North American Sikh intellectual bloodsport, IJ Singh and a graduate of UC Berkeley debated ideals about graduate education, the panth, and the academy. It is worth reading through for their different orientations towards the discussion, if at the very least to see how two people with very different positions in life (gender, education, class, age) interpret the issues at stake. In IJ’s article, he mentioned the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, an American government program that funds graduate research. I had to Wikipedia it. At the time I was an undergraduate interested in applying to PhD programs in the social sciences, and despite the wealth of resources at my university, I ended up scouring the internet for advice on how to successfully apply to doctoral programs that routinely get upwards of 400 applications for 5 or 6 seats. The National Science Foundation’s graduate research fellowship was part of the deluge of items to tackle: letters of recommendation, emails to potential advisors, picking programs, and the dreaded statement of purpose. To make matters worse, my primary advisor was on leave, and unlike many of my peers, I had few friends or places to turn where I felt comfortable getting honest and expert advice on how to craft applications that best demonstrated my accomplishments and abilities. Read more

The Revolution Will Be Localized

In Gil Scott-Heron’s famous 1970 address, he stated – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televized.”  He continues to be right.  However, it will be localized. Think global; act local.  So let's get started! Read more

“What Next?” – After the Oak Creek Gurdwara Massacre

The news is still a shock.  The question of “why” has been one that I have heard most often.  Followed by “what next?” It is this second question that most interests me, as well. The responses have been varied. There are some that have called out that we are all American Sikhs, although most within the community would be a bit confused as most of us use the title “Sikh-Americans”, while the term “American Sikhs” is generally used for those sections in our community that often were first  introduced to Sikhi by the late Yogi Bhajan. There are others that are taking on the task to ‘teach’ others about Sikhi and raise talking points, when speaking to the media – either national or even regional.  SALDEF and Sikh Coalition have been at the forefront and have even produced Sikhi 101-type materials that can be used when speaking to non-Sikh audiences.  Both should be commended for their work. Still far more interesting to me – and is often the case within The Langar Hall – is how Sikhs dialogue with each other.  While still important – in some ways it seems a bit less significant how Sikhs speak to non-Sikhs, when compared to how we speak to one another.  National attention will wane; the media will become bored; yet, we will still be there with one another.  Two recent postings largely speak to this very question. Read more

An Intro to Our Tribe - Bhujangi Youth Academy 2012

Bhujangi Youth Academy is one of Jakara Movement’s most challenging and promising programs.  Now in its second year, we take a group of young men into the woods for 10-days in a program that couples Sikhi with discipline and emotional growth. Early wake-ups followed by morning Nitnem set the tone for the rest of the day, which includes classes on Sikh history, emotional development, Gurmukhi, life-skills, survival skills, martial arts, sports, swimming, physical activities, and campfires.   Read more

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