SSA bringing Turban week to DFW colleges

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Are you planning on traveling to Padre Island, Panama City or heading home for vacation? Why not, “walk a mile in a Sikh’s shoes while earning community service hours” as advertised by the Sikh Student Association?

Since starting the Sikh Student Association, SSA President Jaipreet Singh Suri has merged with Texas Woman’s University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, University of Texas at Dallas and Southern Methodist University to introduce the Sikh Turban Week from March 9 to 13.

Last year’s huge community involvement and enthusiasm paved the way for the Sikh Student Association to organize and extend Sikh Turban Week to other area college campuses.

“The main reason for starting the organization was to promote diversity, to educate and to welcome differences,” Suri said. “Our environment is truly reflecting a united nation. We need to continue to educate people so differences are cherished not ostracized simply because we do not know or understand another person or group of people.”

Due to cultural misconceptions, the Sikh religion and the turban has often been mistaken for Hinduism, Buddhism and terrorist organizations. However, by educating the public on most, if not all of the false impressions, it no longer will be as prevalent as it has been in the past.

The Sikh religion originated in India, and it is the fifth largest organized religion in the world alongside Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

“Sikhs wear turbans as symbols and reminders of their core values: discipline, honesty, integrity, ethics, spirituality and humility, and to distinguish their unique identity as protectors of the values they revere.” Suri said. “In fact, sources mention that 99 percent of the people in the United States who wear a turban are followers of Sikhism.”

The Sikh Communications Council located in Menlo Park, Calif., elaborates on Jaipreet Suri’s goal to diminish stereotypes by addressing mistaken beliefs such as, “Sikh’s are not Hindus, Muslims or from the Middle East, they are not illiterate or ignorant, they are not illegal immigrants or new to the United States, they are not terrorists nor are they related to Osama Bin Laden in any way or enemies of this country, they are not uncaring, unpatriotic or uncommitted to the United States, and Sikhs are not embarrassed to answer questions about their religion.”

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