Surrey, Canada: Sunday October 25th 2009 marked yet another big step forward for the Sikh Youth of British Columbia. Over two thousand supporters from all political backgrounds crowded into the Grand Taj Banquet hall in Surrey to show their support and send a message to the entire community. The unanimous message was received loud and clear, “We will not stand by and watch our Gurudwaras being used as political tokens any longer!”
The Sikh Youth slate, arranged the rally to introduce the Youth slate, which will run in the upcoming executive election for the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple. The team consists of dedicated young Sikh professionals who have vowed to bring about a much needed change in the way Gurdwaras are operated. What started off as nothing more then a regular gathering, the rally finished with a charge that could be felt throughout the entire lower mainland. The Youth Committee was showered with praises, high-hopes, and encouragement. Supporters held up cell phones for those at home to witness the event and texted links to the live radio broadcast. “It truly was a special night, much bigger than anything we could have ever expected”, said youth committee rally organizer Kuldeep Singh.
The meeting started with introductions to the Panj Singh Committee that selected the youth slate candidates and then introductions to the 2008 slate, that won the election and had to give up their victory on a technicality and the 18 new youth slate members for 2009. The 2009 Youth slate will be led by Bikramjit Singh Sandher, the most well respected leader among not only the youth but the greater community as well. “I cannot put into words the feeling that we leave with here tonight” said Bikramjit Singh, “It is truly time for change and to work towards a united brighter future of our community!”
The Sikh Youth Slate also presented their 5 point agenda to the community of Unity, Seniors, Youth, Women, and Spirituality. This agenda will form the basis of a platform which is based on inclusiveness, transparency, new ideas, and a new approach to Gurdwara Management. Youth and Seniors alike were excited about the platform which is the first of its type ever to be presented by a Lower Mainland Gurdwara.
Many dignitaries and speakers from local media, societies, groups and businesses took to the stage in support of the Sikh Youth objectives and pledged there support and resources for the November 15th election. In addition to the thousands within the hall, many more were at home and throughout British Columbia and the world listening to the live broadcast over the internet.
Bikramjit Singh reminded supporters that a successful rally is only the first step. He encouraged the crowd to continue to break the political barriers and move past the arguments that have continued to divide the community. The supporters reciprocated the message with cheers for unity, togetherness, and change on November 15th.
Change is imminent, however, it is becoming clearer by the day that the time for change is now. Working together for our future and not against each other was the message of the night and judging by the response, the community agrees.