This year will mark 10 years since Sikh Heritage Month was first recognized in Ontario and this important month acknowledges the essential contributions that Sikhs have made to the social, economic, political, and cultural fabric of the country.
“Sikh Heritage Month invites us to remember, celebrate and educate about Sikhs and the important role that we play in the community,” said Ramandeep Kaur, settlement worker with Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society. “We celebrate Sikh Heritage Month not only to commemorate the resilience and achievements but also to remember that there is much more to do.”
Following the recent violence targeting a Sikh student attending UBCO, an April 12 event will provide a space to better understand the experiences of Sikhs in Vernon and to explore individual roles and responsibilities with respect to advocacy.
“Sikh Heritage Month is an important opportunity to reflect on the prevalence and impact of systemic racism,” said Naaz Kaur Grewal, local Immigration Partnership Council coordinator. “Starting constructive dialogues about racism can be daunting, but these conversations are a vital aspect of building a stronger, consciously more inclusive community.”
The lunchtime discussion circle will feature kirtan (practice of call and response chanting, and combines mantra and devotional music), refreshments and an opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with local Sikh women to better understand the past and present contributions of Sikhs in the North Okanagan.
The free event takes place Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gurdwara Vernon Sikh Temple - ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਵਰਨਨ ਸਿੱਖ ਟੈਪਲ, at 3800 Commonage Crescent.
Seating is limited and pre-registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sikh-heritage-month-community-celebration-tickets-599091176837
This event is generously funded by the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan and the Social Planning Council and is open to anyone who has a desire to share and learn; all persons are welcome and equal in the gurdwara.