University Of Alberta Turban-Tying Event Fights Racism Against The Sikh Community

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A University of Alberta event turned racism against the Sikh community into an opportunity to celebrate diversity.

In September, students and staff were shocked after 12 racist, anti-Sikh posters were found around the Edmonton university's campus.

They featured a picture of a Sikh man wearing a turban and a statement calling on people from "third-world" cultures to leave Canada.

Rather than simply condemning the posters or responding with anger, students set up an educational opportunity called "Turban Eh." (Watch video of the event.)

university of alberta turban tiein
An attendee at the "Turban Eh" event at the U of A gets help tying her turban from a volunteer. (University of Alberta/Facebook)

The University of Alberta Students' Union, the Indian Students' Association and the World Sikh Organization hosted a turban tie-in on Tuesday.

Volunteers used cloth donated by the Sikh community to tie turbans on people who were interested, and also handed out pamphlets about Sikh culture, and served free food.

"People don't realize, but the name 'Sikh' actually means 'to learn,'" said event organizer Arundeep Singh Sandhu in a U of A video.

Sikhs cover their hair with turbans as a religious observance and to cover their long hair, which they don't cut as a sign of respect to God.

Students, staff, and politicians from around Alberta showed up at the campus to rock the colourful headwear.

"Hatred stems from discomfort, so an event like this creates more comfort so people can ask questions without feeling they are going to offend anyone," said Inderdeep Kaur Mander, president of the Sikh Students' Association.

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