By Jessica Gregory
Last year, I attended an amazing event called Turban Day. The event is held by CU Sewa and is happening yet again! The 4th annual Columbia University Turban Day will be held this Friday, April 15th, from 12 pm to 5pm. Why is it amazing? Because you can get a turban tied by one of the many volunteers at the event (to help de-stigmatize the Sikh Turban), and at the same time learn about Sikhism as a faith.
For those of you who don’t know, CU Sewa is a social justice and community service organization based on the Sikh value of sewa, meaning ‘selfless service’. Their events incorporate values of acceptance, equality, and service to speak to the diversity of experiences in the community.
The president of Sewa, Preeti Grewal, had this to say about the event –
“Turban Day is an annual event we do to raise awareness about the Sikh faith and to de-stigmatize the Sikh turban. This event has been held across the country on different college campuses and is a response to the Islamophobic sentiments Sikhs have faced since 9/11. Turbaned Sikhs particularly have become targets of hate crimes and discrimination due to the physical expression of their faith being associated with terrorism. Our main goals through the event are to raise awareness about Sikhism and the significance of the Sikh turban in an effort to combat the islamophobic dialogue and sentiment that stems from fear and ignorance. Additionally, we feel particularly strongly about hosting Turban Day this year given the prevalence of hateful dialogue against brown and black bodies in our current political environment. We feel that it is now more important than ever to stand in solidarity and work together to end the discrimination being projected at South Asian communities.”
From personal experience, I can tell you that the event will leave you feeling warm and informed. Sewa works unbelievably hard to bring this event to the student body each year, so they deserve all the support we can give. Please take a moment to stop by on your Friday afternoon, and participate in Turban Day!
(Plus, There will be free food, mehndi (henna), t-shirts, and giveaways. Don’t want to miss that!)
Jessica Gregory is a senior at Barnard and co-editor and chief of the nine ways of knowing.