This post is long overdue and hopefully anticipated as well. Lots to report and even more to share. Let's get started....
This summer has been amazing. We successfully had our Lalkaar collegiate conferences in 2 brand new cities and both were tremendous successes. In Houston, we started off our summer and had our second conference in Bakersfield, CA. Attendance especially at the conference in Bakersfield had an uptick pointing to us that continuing to engage new audiences and retain older ones will create sustainable momentum.
Our July 4th fireworks sales is a key way we fund this movement. Every year, the Sikh youth sevadaars battle temperatures nearing 110 degrees in order to serve, fundraise, and build financial capital for their movement. This year we ran 4 stall throughout the Fresno area and raised necessary funds to keep this movement growing and building.
Our July month was filled with our adventures from our high school camps. Bhujangan was a success in SoCal, NorCal, and Central California. Over 60 girls participated. Our Bhujangi Boys Academy continues to inspire, motivate, and challenge a new generation of young Sikh boys in their journey towards manhood.
New in 2016, we started 2 completely free officer retreats to develop the talent pool and cull the leadership skills of our Sikh youth. In the month of August, we had a special 3-day training retreat for our high school clubs - Sikh Honors and Service Society (SHSS) - that was attended by over 40 officers representing 16 high schools (Bakersfield: Stockdale, Ridgeview, Golden Valley, and Independence; Fresno - Kerman, Bullard, Central East, Central West, Clovis East, Clovis North; Livingston: Livingston High; Sacramento - Sheldon, Pleasant Grove; Bay Area - Evergreen, Silver Creek, and James Logan). We have expanded to nearly 20 high schools for the 2016-2017 school year, but are still very much interested to grow in Yuba City (Yuba City HS and River Valley HS) as well as Sierra High School - so get in touch with me and reply to this email!
We followed this up with a JMC retreat for campus Sikh Students Associations and new Jakara Movement Clubs. We had participation from UC Davis, UC Merced, UC Berkeley, Stan State, Sac State, Fresno State, CSU Bakersfield, CSU East Bay, San Jose State, UCSC and more.
2016 has been a busy year with new transitions and new opportunities. We saw Iqbal Singh, our first Paaras Sikh Youth Center Director, Ravneet Kaur, our very first hire and our Director of Development, as well as Jaskiranjot Kaur, our first Bay Area Community Organizer, leave to pursue new opportunities. They continue to be part of this movement in the volunteer capacity - how they first entered - and we are so proud of the work they were able to achieve, the relationships they were able to build, and their new roads ahead.
2016 brought in new talents as well. We are proud to formally announce our NEW Bakersfield and Fresno-area community organizers - Manpreet Kaur and Kamaljit Kaur. Manpreet began as our Bakersfield area intern in spring and has far surpassed our expectations about what is possible in burgeoning Sikh communities. She has been extremely successful in recruiting at high schools and starting the first-ever Sikh organization on CSU Bakersfield's campus.
Kamaljit Kaur started last week and has hit the ground running. Kamaljit Kaur is a Fresno native and comes to the movement with previous work experience in the corporate sector. She is well-known in the region as being part of our Misl Fresno council and has plenty of experience with volunteers, donors, and all types of supporters. She hopes to widen the impact of our presence in Fresno and continue to develop and expand the efforts of the Paaras Sikh Youth Center.
Both of these new additions join our current staff - Simranjit Singh, our Paaras Sikh Youth Center Director, and Amrit Kaur, who we have shifted to focus her work on the greater Sacramento Region (from Ceres to Yuba City). Simranjit Singh has helped oversee the expansion of the Paaras Sikh Youth Center, which serves nearly 30 students daily with amazing results. Some of their parents can't even believe that their children want to come for tutoring help - but that's the power of community. Sikh children need those mentors and encouragement from those that look like them, have had similar experiences, and can help navigate them through the difficult world of adolescence. Amrit Kaur, after serving the Southern California Sikh sangat for the past two years, returns to her home in Northern California and is eager to create deep relationships and engagement in the huge Sikh belt that runs along Highway 99 from Yuba City down to Ceres. She has already helped kick off new clubs in Sheldon High School and even at CSU Stanislaus. There is much more to come soon!
Now Hiring - Bay Area Community Organizer
We are seeking to immediately hire a new community organizer in the Bay Area. We seek someone with some work experience and compensation will be based on work in the area. We are seeking someone with passion, commitment, and a true dedication to creating opportunities for the Sikh youth. Check out the link and please help us circulate this widely!
Our Sikh Honors and Service Society (SHSS) chapters are up in running in nearly 20 high schools throughout California. More to come in Texas soon as well! At this early stage, they are consolidating membership and making sure their campus presence is felt for their upcoming club rush. We will have more updates soon. If your school or your child's school would like to start a club, please reply to this email and we'll be in touch!
Our Jakara Movement Club (JMC) chapters are spreading throughout college campuses. Read our top 10 reasons why you should help start one! We are building new college Sikh presences on CSU campuses like Fresno State, CSU Bakersfield, Stan State, and consolidating on UC Campuses like UCD, UCLA, UCR, UCB and more! If you'd like more information and would like to get involved (or start a chapter on your campus), message us!
1984 Sikh Genocide Resolution
Some may have been aware and others less so, but your Misl Fresno was instrumental in providing part of the leadership to pass the historic 1984 Sikh Genocide Resolution. Fresno is the 5th largest city in California and the Indian Government directly sought to stop the resolution from passing. It became ground zero in the United States. Despite the gross interference of the Consulate General of India directly trying to strike fear in the City Council members and a campaign of disinformation by their local lackeys, the Sangat showed up in full force to speak in a united voice. Over 700 members of the sangat (the largest in Fresno's history) came together to witness a new dawn in the history of the Sikhs in Fresno. Check out some of the media coverage here, here, and here.
Register to Vote
The November election will soon be here. You will have choices to make. But we need the community to begin making those choices. From the 1984 Sikh Genocide Resolution to the Murillo Road controversy in San Jose, our elected officials do not realize our community's potential, because we have yet to flex our power. From now until the election, the Jakara Movement's local SHSS chapters, JMC Chapters, and Misl Members are making a commitment to help register more of our community to vote. This past weekend we started the drive in Fresno and Bakersfield. We will soon be expanding to the Bay Area, Livingston, Turlock, Sacramento and Yuba City. We need your help to both support this drive and encourage others to register as well. If you have voted in the past, re-register with us! If you have never voted, register with us. This year we need to begin a massive drive. We will do our part - we need your seva and encouragement to do yours. Please get in touch with us if you can help organize voter registration drives at your gurdwara and in your local community. The last day to register for this election is October 24, 2016.
So much going on and so much more to come. If you want to see this movement grow, then give your time. We honor those that give qurbaani. The most important qurbaani is your time. There is two ways to do this - either come out and volunteer directly or give some of your work wages to power this movement - donate. Donate or volunteer! How you give is your way - but make sure you are giving. It will make you a more complete person and provide an example for your children and others.
We are here to work for Panth Ki Jit. This is where we are and we still have far to go. This is the state of YOUR movement. Together, we are the movement.