Here's an Idea for Your Summer Camp by INNI KAUR Are you one of those amazing individuals who organize and run summer youth gurmat camps somewhere in the diaspora? If so, then I must ask you to consider having a workshop around an award-winning documentary, Roots & Wings. This powerful film is quietly changing the stereotypical mindset of school-going children across America. Created by Angad Singh, a Sikh-American teenager, this film seeks to create a dialogue as to how the current school-going population views its fellow Sikh students. Why is this film important? Browse through the website, OneLight Films | Roots & Wings - A Sikh-American Teen?s Quest Creating a dialogue on diversity in schools. and you will quickly see how this film has facilitated a change in the mind of students who previously associated Sikhs and turbans with negative images. Read some their comments and get a glimpse of what our children face: I really find this documentary very uplifting; it gave me perspective. You took me on the inside of what it is like to be an American who does not look like others. I would be lying if I said I have not been a little frightened when I was at an airport and I saw a man with a turban on. Now I realize, even if you are a Sikh or a Muslim it does not mean you are a terrorist. And, I apologize for being ignorant and will try to be a better American citizen. I hope to teach others what your documentary had taught me today. Thank you for the life lesson. [S.T., age 15 years, Georgia, U.S.A.] Your film was moving. Before, when I saw someone with a turban, I would think of the Middle East. But now, after your film, I see people with turbans as Americans. I see them liking the same music and doing the same things I do. I think if we learn about each other, we will find that we are all the same people. [Age, 15 years, Georgia, U.S.A.] Why it is important to hold a workshop followed by a discussion at Youth Camps? 1 While this film educates the mainstream that beyond anonymity and mistaken perceptions, Sikh youth are truly American and deal with their challenges bravely, with roots in a perfect balance of spirituality and progressiveness. It also inspires Sikh youth to realize that they can triumph being who they are. They do not have to cut off their roots that strengthen them to soar high on their wings. This film instills an incredible level of confidence in the Sikh youth. 2 To empower the Sikh youth with an action oriented plan. There is power in grass root action. All it takes is one child educating their school and before you know it, we will have the entire United States educated on who the Sikhs are and their values. An organization cannot do this, but every Sikh child can educate one school at a time. This is where the Gurmat Camps come into the picture. You have the power to mobilize your campers with a sense of action and become part of the process. Why has the film Roots & Wings been so successful in Public Schools? * Public schools shy away from material that is religious in nature because by law they have to be secular and cannot impart religious education. They can however and will impart lessons that fit in with cultural diversity, world history or world language program. Roots & Wings fits into all of these categories as it invokes a dialogue on "What does it mean to be an American in a multicultural society of today." * It's a documentary with real people and children who are truly American. Students and teachers relate to the real characters as they speak from the heart. * An American teenager has created this film. Students are often wary of adult agendas but can easily relate to someone their age. They are touched by the fact that somebody their age has to go beyond their comfort zone to be accepted as who they are. They show great respect for the fact that Sikhs stand up for their beliefs rather than giving in after they have watched the film. * There are lesson plan and presentations, testimonies and letters from educators on the website that testify to the power of this film. There is no screening fee and the schools are supplied with all the necessary material and help. So, a humble request to all youth camp organizers: please empower your campers with a workshop created around Roots & Wings. OneLight Films will help you with the pre- and post- screening material and will send a free DVD screener for your camp. What are you waiting for? Please contact us today at: OneLight Films | Roots & Wings - A Sikh-American Teen?s Quest Creating a dialogue on diversity in schools. P.S.: Parents: I know all of us share a deep desire to EDUCATE the schools about Sikhs in an effective non-threatening acceptable way. I strongly urge you to please download ‘The Letter to the Educators' from the website and send it to the teachers. http://www.onelight-films.com/production/pdfs/RootsandWingsALettertoEduc.pdf The right time to approach the educators is NOW. Teachers are engaged in planning exercises for the next year. Please share this information with them, so they can include Roots & Wings in their curriculum planning for the next year. Awards So Far Worldwide Screenings, Awards and Recognitions About Angad Singh Peace worker, Angad Singh, youth activist since the age of 11, is breezing ahead with a focus and aim for a more peaceful world via documentary filmmaking. His two films have screened in dozens of film festivals, schools, youth conferences, community centers, and on satellite and cable TV across the globe, inspiring young and old alike to take baby steps in the direction of a friendlier world by bridging the gap of ignorance. Angad’s first documentary, One Light, celebrates the oneness of humanity and envisions a better world through the creation of close knit neighborhoods. One Light has won several awards and has lead Angad to speaking engagements in a number of schools. Through these speaking engagements, Angad has inspired thousands of American teens to better their communities. Some projects that arose as a result of his inspiring talks include a film project on teen pregnancy and a reading program wherein high school students read to younger students in a drug-ridden California community. In addition, an upscale Idaho community where the immigrant workers’ children were mostly segregated found a new beginning in race relations after participating in Angad’s workshops. Angad’s second documentary, Roots and Wings, is steadily becoming an educational tool in middle and high schools around the country. Roots and Wings has created a dialogue around what it means to be an American in today’s multicultural society. It addresses the persistent bullying faced by students who dare to be different, or just to be themselves. Angad Singh is a high school student in Alpharetta, GA. He loves to play basketball, fence, and he enjoys the saxophone. He is studying French and Punjabi, his native language. In his sophomore year, Angad visited France and India and spoke to youth audiences in both countries. He is currently working on a cultural exchange documentary that will bring French and American students closer together.