An Intern’s Reflection

August 19, 2010

Sikh Coalition Staff and Interns at South Street Seaport

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.


New Video: From the Classroom to the Capitol

August 24, 2009

Filmmaker Kevin Lee just finished a new short documentary film entitled From the Classroom to the Capitol: The Sikh Coalition. The film was screened for the first time on August 8, 2009 at the Sikh Coalition’s first ever gala in New York City.

Kevin Lee is a an award-winning, New York-based filmmaker who also directed the films Warrior Saints and Dastaar: Defending Sikh Identity. This new documentary, From the Classroom to the Capitol, includes interviews with community members who have experienced discrimination or hate violence as well as Sikh Coalition staff members and interns who provide a behind the scenes glimpse at the Sikh Civil Rights movement in the United States.

We are grateful for Kevin’s commitment to documenting these stories which are so important to Sikhs in the U.S. and around the world.

Reflections From a Sikh Coalition Nasher

June 9, 2009

By Cassie Moy

Cassie Moy was a Sikh Coalition intern in the New York office for the 2008-2009 school year. Cassie is a Junior at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan and lives in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009, marks my last day as a Sikh Coalition intern.

Eight months ago, the start of my junior year in high school, I would not have defined myself as anything in relation to the Sikh Coalition, and today I’m proud to think that I have contributed to this organization that has inspired and taught me so much.

cassienasherEight months ago, I was fresh out of the Summer Institute, a summer program designed by the
Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP) to “promote leadership and activism among young women…. designed to strengthen, empower, and equip young women as agents for change in their world.” (SNLP participants are referred to as “Nashers.”) It was a wonderful experience that really fine-tuned my world view and contributed to my growth. Walking out of the Summer Institute I felt strengthened, empowered, equipped, and ready to be an agent of positive change. There was no question as to whether or not I was going to participate in the second part of SNLP’s program: Community Action Placement, or CAP.

CAP landed me an internship with the Sikh Coalition last October.
It became a gentle barrage of new experiences for a high school student who had never before worked or spent significant time in an office setting – from getting friendly with Microsoft Excel to a run out in the rain to make a last-minute shipment. And networking like I had never networked before in the name of begging my friends and classmates to please, please take this survey and pass it on.

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