Sarbjit Singh with bullying prevention specialists attending the conference
American Sikh Council (ASC) representatives S.Sarbjit Singh and S. Kavneet Singh organized and participated in the three day International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) Conference held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, CA between November 5 -7, 2018.
This three day conference was attended by over 600 bullying prevention specialists, attorneys, trauma specialists, experts from the federal government, social workers, superintendents, child psychologists, school counselors, educators, diversity directors from across the country and over 30 foreign countries.
American Sikh Council (ASC) set up a Sikh exhibit to have conversations and disseminate literature on bullying of Sikh American children, including information on the Sikh American heritage and various resource books to enlighten and educate the educators, so that bullying can be reduced further.
S.Kavneet Singh and S. Sarbjit 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.
Much of the feedback from many of the professionals was that they would like ASC representatives to visit their schools to educate students and staff about Sikhs as well as have an opportunity to visit a local Gurdwara (Sikh place of prayer) as a part of ‘look and learn’ for their students.
Those teachers teaching in the inner cities and dealing with minority groups were very fascinated by the concepts of ‘sarbat da bhalla’ and how ‘seva’ are the central building blocks of the Sikh tenets.
S.Kavneet Singh with school children attending the IBPA Conference
Some attendees wanted to experience the turban and feel the practical reality, so wore them the entire day while walking in and out of the conference. Every time ASC organizes these exhibits there are always a few attendees who come back with new insight on how they felt while turbaned and that is an experience which has to be felt and cannot be taught. This kind of ‘empathy training 101’ is critical to better understanding and learning.
One very articulate female professional who attended the previous conferences and has not only had a turban tied earlier but has gone out of her way to write and go out on a limb to help assist ASC with new ideas to engage with various organizations in the arena of bullying prevention. This kind of networking to help move the needle forward is critical, therefore these educational exhibits need to continue so that the permanent engagement does not stop.
The attendees were very appreciative of the practical approach to tackling the disturbing issue of bullying through ASC’s enlightening exhibit, in order to better understand the insidious bullying of Sikh Americans. Many educators wanted ASC to exhibit at the regional and state conferences as well as they felt that our approach was extremely effective.
Kavneet Singh and S.Sarbjit Singh with attendees
ASC hopes that all the member and non-member gurdwaras step and get more engaged by supporting our ongoing initiatives, so that we can participate in more of the state level conferences to educate and disseminate information to a wider audience of education professionals in order to help more of our children from being bullied.