S.Davinder Singh with educators and anti-bullying specialists attending the conference
American Sikh Council (ASC) representative S.Davinder Singh from the Sikh Resource Society (SRS), Schaumburg, IL led and participated in the one day summit on bias and bullying at the Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan on Friday, October 20, 2017.
This all day conference was attended by over 220 social workers, educators and anti-bullying specialists from across the country.
Some of the seminars and topics being discussed over the course of the day were;
- America is Changing; Are You Ready?
- Bullying and Students with Disabilities
- Bias-Based Bullying and Cyberbullying
- Youth Poetry Slam focused on Bullying
American Sikh Council (ASC) representative S.Davinder Singh set up a Sikh exhibit to have conversations and disseminate literature on bullying of Sikhs and Sikh children, including information on the Sikh American heritage.
S.Davinder Singh tied turbans/dastaars while talking about, what the dastaar represents and how the fundamentals of love, unity, equal rights, social justice, women equality and social activism are at the core of the Sikh ideology and way of life. All the attendees found this commonality in the American constitution. He also talked to the social studies teachers about the involvement of Sikhs in the armed forces of the United States and in previous World Wars.
Many of the teachers and social workers were not only interested in learning about the Sikhs, but would like a representative to visit their schools to teach students about Sikhs as well as have an opportunity to visit a local Gurdwara (Sikh place of prayer) as a part of their curriculum for their students.
Those teachers teaching in the inner cities were very intrigued by the concepts of ‘sarbat da bhalla’ and how ‘seva’ are the central building blocks of a Sikh’s ethos.
Bias and Bullying Conference in session
One social worker explained how being black, he is a minority – but while wearing the turban he realized that Sikhs are a minority within a minority, which was a challenge for him to wrap his mind around as he wore the dastaar and attended the conference. Though wearing the dastaar made him feel closer to his Sikh brothers and sisters after the experience, and gave him an appreciation of their struggle in America as it related to the struggle of black people in America.
Many educators wanted to keep the dastaar on the entire event and some wanted to take one home to remind them of what it symbolized.
All the participants expressed how comfortable it felt wearing a dastaar/turban, something they had not realized until they wore one for a few hours.
There were two young Sikh American physicians working at the same hospital; Dr. Daman Singh who is a transplant surgeon and Dr. Sangeeta Kaur an OB/GYN, both practicing and dastaar wearing Sikhs who stopped by to visit the Sikh booth.
The Michigan Attorney General’s office was also exhibiting at the event.
The attendees were very appreciative of the hands on approach to tackling the sinister issue of bullying and the interactive exhibit, in order to better understand the covert and overt bullying of Sikh Americans. Many educators left with a new sense of understanding.
S.Davinder tying a turban on an attendee and also explaining to onlookers