#GreaterSeattle: Sikhs seek recognition and respect

Throughout her life, Aman Kaur Mann’s peers have mistaken her as Muslim.

Despite Sikhism being the fifth largest religion in the world, many people still don’t realize that it’s a distinct religion – completely separate from Hinduism and Islam.

Mann is 17-year-old member of the Sikh community and has attended classes at the Khalsa Gurmat School (KGS) in Renton for more than 10 years. Outside of the KGS, Mann’s life is not so different from the lives of her peers. She worries about college acceptances, participates in school clubs and spends time with friends.

“I feel like I’m leading a double life sometimes,” Mann said.

But Mann says assimilation into mainstream American culture is not what all Sikhs want. Sikhs, she said, have very unique values and cultural aspects.

“What we’re looking for is respect for that and recognition for that,” Mann said. “And that’s what we haven’t gotten yet.”

About the #GreaterSeattle series: Political slogans about “making America great again” are stirring up racism and anti-immigrant sentiment around the country. But these young people are proof that our growing diversity is Seattle’s greatest strength.

This video was produced as part of a class taught by Seattle Times photographer Erika Schultz for the UW Journalism program.