“We want young Sikhs to effectively engage with the UK Parliament”
When we embarked on our partnership with UK Parliament Week (UKPW) last year, at the forefront of our mind was the importance to equip and empower members of the British Sikh community with insights and understanding which lend to better and smarter engagement with the democratic process.
At our UKPW event held in the House of Lords last year, we heard from Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (Slough), Mandip Sahota a former civil servant and strategist, and former councillor and community activist Gurpal Virdi. Each gave their own perspective on how to best to navigate through the structures of power, and how best to speak up about important issues. On reflection, the central message of each of our speakers shared a common thread – that we the demos, can take positive action, and if we choose, effectively engage on matters we’re passionate about. This could range from something as simple as signing an online petition, giving evidence to a select committee, or even standing as a candidate at an election.
Concluding the event, our Director Lord Singh said:
‘We may feel strongly about certain issues such as Brexit or the Credit Crunch, but how do we best empower ourselves to get involved in the political process itself? As Sikhs our core values are consistent with democracy and we believe UK Parliament Week will not only provide a timely reminder of those shared principles such as equality, tolerance and human rights for all, but also provides a moment to reflect on how individuals and gurdwaras can best explore and engage with the democratic process today.’
This year we want to place a focus on empowering younger Sikhs to be part of the #UKPW conversation and will work with gurdwaras and local politicians to facilitate and foster this engagement.
By Hardeep Singh, Deputy-Director, Network of Sikh Organisations