Indiana is set to become the second state in the United States to include Sikh history and culture into the public school curriculum
Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz announced the plan at a SikhsPAC Town-Hall meeMng in Indianapolis, Ind. on Sunday. The iniMaMve targets three major entry points, including 7th grade world history (Asia, Africa and the Middle East), high school world history and elecMve high school world religions. “When (SihksPAC Chairman) Gurinder Singh Khalsa came and spoke with me, he had some requests that Sikhism be introduce into our schools. Really, those requests were welcome,” said Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public InstrucMon. Along with distribuMng material on Sikhism, Ritz commiZed to revising grade level standards to specifically reference Sikhs and Sikhism in relevant course. Those standards are due for revision in six years.
“EducaMonal awareness is key to reducing incidents of racial violence against Sikhs in Indiana and around the country. Across America 15 millions students pass high school every year and they have no clue who Sikhs are because Sikhs History and culture is not part of the hight school curriculum. SikhsPAC main agenda is to introduce Sikh awareness in public schools across America as sustainable Sikh Awareness one state at a Mme ” said SikhsPAC Chairman, Gurinder Singh Khalsa. Soon the it will spread in the midwest across America. According to a report
from the Sikh CoaliMon, Indiana ranks among the worst states in the country in terms of both frequency and intensity of bullying of Sikh children. This represents SikhsPACs highest priority, said Khalsa. This is just a start he added. A great deal of work remains.
Other acts of violence and vandalism are commonplace said Jitender Singh, Indiana entrepreneur and SikhsPAC Outreach Coordinator. He points to pictures on his phone of racial slurs and graffiM on several of his gas pumps.
Much of the instrucMonal material submiZed to the agency comes from the Sikh CoaliMon’s educaMonal implementaMon team. The group has previously worked on similar iniMaMves in California.
SikhPAC started as an Indiana-based iniMaMve. However, the program is set to expand to other states including California, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Illinois, Washington, Virginia Amanjodh Singh is spearheading efforts to start a SikhsPAC movement in California. He aZended the townhall meeMng in Indiana.
“We sikh youth need to be part of the poliMcal processes, so that our voices can be heard all over the US,” said Amanjodh Singh.
Gaurav Singh, representaMve of the Gurdwara Sahib in Mishawaka, Indiana said this is an important beginning for Sikhs in Indiana. But, it is only a start, he said. Sikhs in the US cannot stop unMl every American is aware of their unique idenMty.
Amarbir Singh, another representaMve of the Wishawaka Gurudwara Sahib, said iniMaMves like this go to the root of Sikh’s history as great soldiers, scholars and leaders in their community. The event was aZended by sikhs from across Indiana. Senior Sikh Society of Indiana and representaMves from several Gurudwaras all over Indiana aZended.