A New Generation of Young Sikh Leaders: A Profile of Sharan Kaur
November 8th is a major date in America. At the end of the night the country will have a new president. However, the American public will not only be voting for a new president that day, they will also be voting for hundreds of local and state level representatives.
Sikhs in the United States have a long history of holding elected offices at the local state, county and city levels. The first Sikh American to become a voting member of the United States House of Representatives was Dalip Singh Saund in 1957.
Today, especially in California, Sikhs are becoming more politically active and engaged. Numerous Sikhs are now elected member of city councils, school boards, and planning commission in cities like Yuba City, Fremont, Union City, Elk Grove and many more.
In this year’s election Sikhs are fighting in many races across the country. In the San Francisco Bay area, Sharan Kaur is running for School Board. She currently works at Cisco as a Program Manager where she implements many diversity and educational initiatives. Now she intends to bring these same initiatives to New Haven Unified Schools.
“My professional background in Silicon Valley and community service has prepared me for this very responsibility to serve our diverse community. I am committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure that we create more 21st century learning opportunities for our students, empower our teachers and engage our parents.” – Sharan Kaur
Sharan Kaur has been a resident of Union City for over 25 years and has 2 generations of family who have gone through the New Haven School District. She is the eldest of 4 children and stated that she always found it as her duty to share her experiences and mentor her siblings and young members of community with their schools and careers.
She has been involved in the community and several charities that focus on education for over a decade and now has the desire to step up, get involved and give back to the same schools and community that made her who she is today.
Having immigrated to this country at a very young age Sharan has successfully assimilated into the community. She understands the major issues most immigrant parents and students face due to lack of family involvement and/or language and cultural barriers.
Sharan Kaur has a clear edge in this keenly contested race as she is the only candidate who is a recent graduate and a product of the New Haven School District. She believes this gives her a great advantage to connect with students and teachers on a personal level and understand the opportunities of improvements. She is determined to bring unique and creative solutions to schools’ current issues.
Sharan’s top priorities are to enhance Emphasis on S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Promote Supportive and Safe Environment & Increase Parent and Community Engagement. (For more information visit her website)
It is important for Sikhs to be politically active. Regardless of the percentage of Sikhs in the United States if we as a community do not vote or stand for office our voices and issues will not be heard. Running for an elected office provides a unique opportunity for community outreach and education.
Sharan has great support from many Sikh leaders and elected officials within the community including the first turbaned Sikh woman to be elected to an office in America, Sarabjit Kaur Cheema. As a community if we continue to follow the lead of individuals like Dalip Singh Saund and other community leaders we can make a positive impact on the country and show its citizen that Sikh and American values go hand in hand.
We have to remember that to make a difference we have to be a part of the process, irrespective of the political party you support. Not everyone can run for political office but every citizen can vote. Make your voice heard by going out and voting on November 8th.
Picture courtesy : sharankaur2016.com
The views expressed are solely of the author and not necessarily of the Sikh Foundation