The Sikh Nation is mobilizing. All around the world, its eyes are turning towards Punjab. A new generation of community organizers and activists are mobilizing to spread word of recent events in Punjab. Corrupt governments are not new to the Sikhs. Even Guru Nanak described the head of governments of his age as being mere "butchers" and their officials as "dogs" eager to prey upon the righteous. Dark days lie ahead, but so long as the guiding light of the Guru and the desire to hold the Qaum's dignity are at the forefront, then the Khalsa will indeed rule. The following is a primer for all those interested in understanding the events. Please share widely. Read more
Since 2012 the organization has undergone many changes. We hired staff, shifted the structure of the organization from being project-based to now being chapter based, we implemented new roles and introduced new programs and projects. Being an organization with over 100 active volunteers at any given time, communication can be challenging. How do we get everyone on one page? How do we learn from each other and work towards expanding and improving the work we are have all committed to? Most importantly, how do we connect as a sangat of volunteers and strengthen ourselves as individuals and a team. The answer was Adhhaara – a retreat specifically designed for Jakara Movement’s active volunteers, board, members of the LOI, and staff. Over the years the retreat has shifted organically based on the needs of the volunteers and organization. Some years we have focused the entire weekend to team building, others we have focused solely on individual skills building, and the past two-years we have been able to find a balance between individual development, team building, and meeting the needs of the organization. Read more
The following was written by a community organizer with the Jakara Movement and completely reflects the point of view of the organization. Earlier today a friend posted about the above picture being removed from his profile due to “Community Standards.: Now according to your Community Standards: “We also remove content that expresses support for groups that are involved in the violent or criminal behavior mentioned above. Supporting or praising leaders of those same organizations, or condoning their violent activities, is not allowed. We welcome broad discussion and social commentary on these general subjects, but ask that people show sensitivity towards victims of violence and discrimination." (Source: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards) So right off the back you do a quick search about Sukha and Jinda. Ohhhh, they killed someone and that is “criminal activity.” Did you bother to do a thorough search? Read more
Ever wonder how some people have this passion, this aurora, this fire that burns so bright? It is the excitement in their voice when they are sharing their work or something they care so much about. It is the smile or sometimes the serious look. It is gesturing of hands in anxiousness to get their thoughts across. It is an accumulation of everything you see, you feel, and you hear. I think it’s just beautiful to witness it and to feel it yourself. I’ve been fortunate, that’s all I can say. I found community in the people around me wherever I went. Don’t get me wrong, I did face many hurdles- from people saying I was too Sikh or not Sikh enough. However, I had parents who cultivated a strong foundation for me and allowed for my curiosity to grow, well within limits they are Punjabi after all. (Mom & Dad I’ll never be able to repay you for all that you have sacrificed. Thank you to all the parents who have provided for their children and continue to do so). My pillars of support have taught me to face the challenges, at times with a smile and other times with tears, and not hide or walk away. That spark I talk about. I found it while I was in undergrad through my education and extracurriculars. I found it in being a Sikh, a learner. I recognized and allowed it to grow through the Jakara Movement, my sangat in California, and my education. I pushed myself to new heights, tested uncomfortable boundaries, and sailed waters I never thought I would. I mean, did we ever think growing up we would have an all girls’ Sikh leadership retreat that talks about social justice, issues girls face growing up, Sikhi, and so much more? Bhujangan was established in the beautiful summer of 2012. Did we ever think of trying to connect Sikh high school students or for there to be a Sikh high school conference? Nishaan and the Sikh Honors and Service Society were a reality earlier this year and last. Did I ever think a Sikh organization would be fully functional with local chapters and multiple full-time employees? Honestly, I never even know you could work for a Sikh nonprofit or that this was a priority our community saw there to be. But it was all possible and is possible. I sit here smiling and my screen because I have to reel myself in before I get too excited about talking about the real impact we are making (yes, you included). All of this, it starts from sparks. Sparks of excitement, activism and conversations that lead to actions. It is a spark that allows us to not feel like work is work and allows us to stay up into the late hours of the night without thinking about the sleep we are missing out on. I continue to find that spark at each new corner because I believe we all have the ability to make a difference with our actions. Small or large, it has an impact. You know why? Because you never know where you might just spark someone else’s passions. Here’s to continuing the conversations and doing the work that makes us happy.
Jakara Juniors aimed to teach kids the history of Vaisakhi through story telling of Khande di Pahul, teaching the youth the Sikh identity and the importance of seva, selfless service. We aspire that the kids take this knowledge and history of Sikhi along with the values of vand shakna (sharing) to the world outside the Gurdwara. As a first time facilitator, I found myself learning while helping the kids come to their own conclusions on what physical and spiritual attributes a Sikh embodies, how seva can be incorporated in the outside work and how Guru Gobind Singh Ji taught us the act of humbleness. I was amazed to see how involved the kids would get with the various activities, which were successful in occupying them while learning something as well. Overall, Jakara Juniors proved to be a successful experience. - Gurprit Kaur is a first time Jakara Juniors volunteer
Waheguru Ji Ka KhalsaWaheguru Ji Ke Fateh Dear Jakara Movement Community and Sevadar/nis, I am humbled and very excited to join the ranks of the Jakara Movement as a staff member serving as the next Northern California Community Organizer. To share a little bit about myself, I was born and raised in Fresno, California and it was there when I first learned about the Jakara Movement in 2005 while witnessing a kids camp centered around the theme of Creating Kartarpur. Although I did not volunteer at the camp I was awestruck and inspired by the teachings of Sikhi and by the confidence of the volunteers. Never would I have guessed that in 2010 after being discharged from the Marines I too would be a part of this same movement. Read more
Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that despite age or experience in life, we are all living – breathing – humans, who question everything. The recent Jakara Juniors at Glen Rock Gurdwara did just that – fostering real, intellectual discussions in collaborative, group settings. I had forgotten just how fresh the minds of our younger Sikh brothers and sisters are. Topics we addressed ranged from Visakhi to Seva to poetry, from bullying to handling one’s emotions to women in Sikhi - and finally - from learning about the Sikh way of to then applying it to our individual lives. The fluidity of our group conversations with such young kids was inspiring – sometimes they need these kinds of smaller breakaway camps more than we do. It gives them a platform where they can intellectually try to analyze Sikhi, they can share stories about themselves, and most importantly, they can share their IDEAS and brainstorm in a safe, welcoming environment. Two hands on project ideas that really stood out to me were the shabad translations as well as the seva project. Read more
On Thursday, June 25, 2015, I traveled to Chicago to attend Lalkaar 2015 – Midwest edition. I also had the privilege of being a facilitator for the conference focused on Guru Granth Sahib Ji. As soon as I landed, I was taken to the hotel to start facilitator training for the weekend. There, I met other facilitators where we bonded and starting connecting to Guru Sahib together. After training ended, we met the other participants through icebreakers, which lead to enjoying Rahraas Sahib together and of course, my first experience with the one and only, real, amazing Chicago Pizza from Giordano’s. On Friday, June 26, 2015, the conference material officially started as we traveled to University of Chicago campus to have diwaan and start the workshops. The first workshop focused on the structure and format of Guru Granth Sahib Ji called “Know your Guru”. This was the participants’ first chance to interact with Gurbani’s structure as a group. After a yummy lunch, the participants had another workshop called Music of the Guru. The last workshop for Friday was called “Court of the Guru”, which took place in the diwaan hall in front of Guru Sahib. This was one of my favorite workshops because as a sangat, we discussed physical barriers to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji within our gurdwaras, our homes, our faith, etc. The workshop became more of a discussion with everyone speaking as the sadhsangat in front of Guru Sahib and to Guru Sahib. The night ended with a banquet for participants to dance, hang out and spend time with their new Midwest sangat. Read more