This month, Utah and Mississippi became the 15th and 16th states in the nation to include Sikhi in their state social studies standards, making it possible for public schoolchildren to learn about Sikh faith, history, and contributions to American life alongside other major world religions.
On December 15, the Mississippi State Board of Education (MSBOE) voted in favor of new social studies standards that include Sikhi for the first time ever. These new standards will give approximately 457,000 students in the state the opportunity to learn about the Sikh community.
Earlier this month, on December 1, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) also voted in favor of new social studies standards that similarly include Sikhi for the first time ever–reaching another 606,000 students across that state.
“The Sikh Coalition continues to work alongside sangat members, allies, and education officials to push for more inclusive standards wherever we see the opportunity to do so,” explained Harman Singh, Sikh Coalition Senior Education Manager. “These victories don’t just reduce bullying and bigotry or help Sikh kids feel seen in their classrooms–they also make for a more well-rounded education for students from all backgrounds.”
For more than 10 years, the Sikh Coalition has pursued efforts to ensure Sikh inclusion in social studies standards on a state-by-state basis; as a result of this campaign, more than 24 million students across the United States currently have the opportunity to learn about Sikhi in school. This continued advocacy work–along with professional development for teachers, the creation and dissemination of classroom resources, and pro-bono support in severe bullying cases–is all part of a coordinated push to raise Sikh awareness at a generational level in the United States.