Written by Navjot Kaur, Summer Education Intern 2010
After years of following the Sikh Coalition’s work to dissolve ignorance surrounding Sikhism, it was a privilege to take part in their summer internship program. As an individual who was raised in the state of New York by two Sikh parents, I cultivated a deep connection and love for both the Sikh and American way of life, as well as the intersections between both.
Over the course of my internship, I was deeply inspired by fellow interns and staff, who worked and continue to display their faith in Sikhi – as a philosophy that teaches its disciples to treat all of humanity with the most basic level of love, respect, and compassion. Reaching out to others, both Sikhs and non-Sikhs in both the American and global community, was an empowering feeling that fuelled my desire to come to work, everyday, with the determination to bring results and as much of a difference as I could.
As I corresponded with numerous members of the community for education-related projects, many members of the sangat shared poignant, heartbreaking, and inspirational stories as to their experiences as Sikhs. These stories shed light on their struggles to maintain their faith and identity in a constantly evolving but bias-marked world. Having experienced constant bullying, harassment, and the discomforting feeling of “being different” throughout my grade school years, as someone who carries the distinct physical identity of a Sikh, I had always aspired to, one day, take part in an effort to spread awareness about a faith that teaches the beauty of and conviction in being different. Through their work to teach, and open up dialogue – I saw and took part and in ongoing effort to do just this.
There is a diligent, confident, and compassionate spirit that catalyzes all work done at the Coalition, and I am proud to have helped carry the torch for its extraordinarily executed and incredibly altruistic cause as a summer intern.
For more information about the Sikh Coalition’s Internship Program, please click here.