Inspired by UC Berkeley Sikh Student Association, Columbia University Sewa (CU SEWA) was honored to host Kaur Voices for the second year in a row on Friday, March 24, 2017. Kaur Voices was an evening of storytelling, spoken word, singing, poetry, and art to celebrate Sikh women. They hoped have to created a brave space to share the experiences, love, narratives, and strength of Kaurs. Over 60 people were in attendance to experience the art of many people of diverse backgrounds.
CU SEWA a is a social justice and community service organization that is based upon the Sikh value of sewa (selfless service). Sewa hosts events that challenge and address injustices and social issues affecting marginalized communities. Furthermore, they wish to impact and improve the vibrancy of campus by hosting a number of cultural events, discussions, panels and community service opportunities that pertain to fostering the universal Sikh values of acceptance, equality, and social justice. They stress the idea of sewa (community service) by working in partnership with NYC and campus based organizations to help promote and progress work that is dedicated to motivate their humanity to be more active and aware.
CU SEWA Board 16-17
Co-Presidents: Jaipreet Sethi and Tanveer Singh
Treasurer: Kamya Arora
Secretary: Simran Wahan
Public Relations Chair: Sunny Birdi
Interfaith Chair: Anmolpreet Kandola
CU SEWA members who helped put on Kaur Voices include Karmpreet Grewal, Harleen Kaur, Maya Anand, Tara Anand, and Kriti Kumar.
Music and Poetry of the Night
Watch all 13 performances at Kaur Life’s You Tube Page.
Check out photos of the night on Kaur Life’s Facebook Page.
The Kaur Voices Zine
For Kaur Voices 2017, Sewa created a zine to capture their views on the definition and culture of being a “Kaur.” A zine (pronounced zeen) is small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images and is usually the product of a single person, or a very small group. The primary intent of publication is to advance the views of the creators rather than for profit. This medium has been very popular in subcultures and marginalized communities as a tool for self-empowerment. The Kaur Voices zine will be available in the Columbia University Zine Archive.
“A few weeks ago, we [Sewa] talked about ‘Kaur Voices,’ what that meant to us, and what type of space we wanted to created,” said Sewa Co-President Jaipreet Kaur Sethi . “We also talked about what type of spaces were needed on this campus., in NYC and in the larger Sikh community.
We knew we were putting together this zine and we wanted a definition of a ‘Kaur’ or what we think a ‘Kaur’ is. Our definition was a group effort and is included on the first page of the zine. In defining ‘Kaur’ words like strength, woman, sovereign being , sisterhood, and femininity came up. Our goal was to re-think what we associated with gender with and consider that gender is a social construct. We wanted to re-imagine the gender binary of ‘man’ and ‘women’. We wanted ‘Kaur’ to be a gender inclusive term to empower those who don’t fit into confined boxes that society puts us in.
That is why we have this definition, ‘A Kaur is a sovereign being upon whom lies great responsibility.’ It is not something you’d see when you look up ‘Kaur’ where you often ‘Sikh woman’ but ‘woman’ can mean so many things.”