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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators

Advocacy on the other side of the world

Raising cultural awareness

By Henna Randhawa, Pleasant Grove High School | May | June 2021
In September of 2020, India’s Parliament passed a law with three ordinances. As a result, the government is taking away the Minimum Support Price and the use of Mandis (farmers markets) from farmers. These changes would force farmers to sell their crops to large corporations who can set low price points for crops because of the removal of MSPs, driving farmers into even more debt and without the ability to support their families.
As a result, farmers from Punjab and other parts of India have traveled on their tractors and on foot to protest in order to get these inequitable laws repealed. The farmers are still there fighting for their livelihoods and will continue to protest until these changes are reversed. Their situation impacts Punjabis and other Indians worldwide, many of whom have family members directly impacted by the changes in farming laws.
Many families who have emigrated from India, like mine, were hard-working farmers who supported their families and found success in agriculture. This success allowed them to emigrate to America and other places around the world to provide a better future for their families. Even after leaving India, farming has been a way of life for many people who have emigrated from India.
A few months ago, I began seeing posts on social media about getting justice for farmers and signing petitions to help them. I became curious and asked my parents about what they knew, and they explained the situation to me. I then decided to do my own research with the help of the internet, and became extremely upset. Not only is this fight for the roots and essence of Punjabi culture, it is a fight for human rights. No one should be driven to the point where they cannot provide for their families after long, hard months of work. It’s inhumane, and that is why I did what I could to help.
As vice president of Pleasant Grove High School’s Punjabi Club, I brought it to the attention of our board members that it was necessary to make an effort to help the farmers since these are our roots. They wholeheartedly agreed and we began to brainstorm the best ways to get the word out and easily allow people to donate. Due to COVID-19, we could not do a large fundraising event. Instead, we created a Venmo account that would make it simple for people to donate and all proceeds would go to Khalsa Aid, a foundation using donations to buy necessities for protestors.
A few months ago, I began seeing posts on social media about getting justice for farmers and signing petitions to help them.
My club’s goal was to raise $500 for the protesting farmers. There was and still is a shortage of beds, food, water and blankets. Additionally, we hoped to spread awareness about the situation to those in the community who either did not know or did not understand the circumstances. We got our friends and family members to repost on their Instagram and Facebook pages. We raised a total of $1,600. The generosity of the community was extraordinary and we are extremely grateful and proud to have been able to help.
I believe that it is very important for high school students to get involved in these types of activities because it makes them more aware of what is happening in the world. It breaks you out of your little bubble and makes you think about others and their lives. It prepares you for the real word and the realities of it as well, changing your perspective for the good.
Henna Randhawa attends Pleasant Grove High School in the Elk Grove Unified School District.
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