Understanding Sikhs and diversity in America

February 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm

On the heels of the first Upstate Sikh temple opening in Duncan, a lecture will be given at the University of South Carolina Upstate on the religion that was founded in India in the late 15th century by Guru Nanak and is the youngest and least known of the world’s monotheistic religious traditions.

Prabhjot Singh and Mallika Kaur will present “9/11 to Oak Creek:  Understanding Sikhs and Diversity in America” on Thursday, March 7 from 11:00 a.m.to 12:00 noon in the Health Education Complex, Room 2039.

Singh is president & CEO of Pixatel Systems, a fast growing mobile start-up based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founding chairman of the Sikh Coalition, the nation’s largest Sikh civil rights organization. He devoted his full-time energy in the months following September 11, 2001 to mobilizing the Sikh community and developing the Sikh Coalition’s national infrastructure. Singh served at the Coalition’s Executive Director until 2006 and has been on the Coalition’s Board of Trustees since inception. He is a co-founder of Saanjh, an immigrant leadership development non-profit, and also serves on the MBSK Foundation Board, which focuses on education as a tool of empowerment. Singh is regularly invited to speak at universities, youth camps, and corporate events about activism, post 9/11 America, and the Sikh faith.

Kaur is a staff attorney at CORA, a domestic violence agency in the Bay Area, California, who focuses on gender and minority issues in the United States and South Asia. In the U.S., Kaur has worked closely with Sikh and other immigrant communities in New York, Illinois, and California on issues ranging from post-9/11 discrimination against Sikhs and Muslims to asylum for men and women from Guatemala, Mexico and Nepal. In South Asia, she has worked on and written about issues ranging from female feticide and Punjabi farmer suicides to police torture. Kaur traveled in Kashmir as the 2010-2011 Harvard Sheldon Traveling Fellow where she spoke to women and girls caught in the conflict. She is the co-founder of the Sikh Family Center, an initiative committed to closing current gaps in access to social services as well as increasing community awareness and activism around holistic health and safety. Kaur holds a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Berkeley Law and a Master in Public Policy (MPP) from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

For more details, contact Dr. David Damrel, associate professor of religion at USC Upstate, at 503-5798 or ddamrel@uscupstate.edu.