During its annual human rights events in June, the World Sikh Organization of Canada recognizes individuals who have made a difference in the Sikh community or with respect to human rights in general. This year WSO recognized several individuals for their contributions at events in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary. A short background on those recognized is below. Congratulations to them all!
1. Ishvarjot (Ish) Kaur Jhaj: Ish was recognized for establishing “Shooting for Hope” a charity which runs soccer camps in Punjab for girls from low-income families. The camps teach soccer skills but also teach leadership, team-building and self-confidence. Ish Jhaj is a kinesiology graduate from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby.
2. Shanti Bh ushan & Associates: Shanti Bhushan is a senior advocate and a former Indian Cabinet Minister. In November 1984 Shanti Bhushan along with other members of the Delhi Bar went out onto the streets of East Delhi, dressed in their lawyers' robes, to rescue Sikh families who were trapped by rampaging mobs. The rescued Sikhs were taken to hospit als or refugee camps. The car in which Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant Bhushan were travelling was also attacked by a mob and stoned.
3. Martin Singh: Martin Singh became the first Sikh to run for the leadership of a federal party as he ran for the leadership of the NDP. Martin Singh very openly talked about his Sikh identity and his journey to adopting the Sikh faith. He was recognized for raising the profile of Sikhs across Canada.
4. Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation: was established by children and youth in 1999 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa. The group focuses on the mission of “children helping children’ and provides support to children in poverty and also participates in local charity events. The foundation is well known for its Run Across Canada for charity.
5. Jagmeet Singh: Jagmeet Singh was recognized for being the first turbaned Sikh MPP in Ontario. Jagmeet was elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2011 with the provincial NDP after an inspiring campaign which involved grassroots community support and youth involvement. Jagmeet is born and raised in Canada.
6. Harnarayan Singh: Harnarayan Singh was recognized for raising the profile of Sikhs and the Punjabi language in Canada. He is the host of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Punjabibroadcast. Harnarayan Singh’s broadcasting career began in his hometown of Brooks, Alberta at Q13 radio. In 2008 he provided Punjabi commentary for CBC during the Stanley Cup Finals. Harnarayan Singh is also an accomplished kirtani and has accompanied some very prominent ragi jathas.
7. Manmeet Singh Bhullar: Manmeet was recognized for being the first turbaned Sikh cabinet minister in Alberta. Manmeet was born and raised in Alberta and in 2008 became the youngest member elected to Alberta’s 27th legislature under Progressive Conservative Party. In October 2011, Manmeet was appointed to Cabinet as the Minister for Service Alberta.