For the past few years ago I have been serving as a keynote speaker, giving talks, hosting interactive cartoon workshops, stereotype realization workshops, sitting on panels at conferences, public schools, private schools, universities, companies, libraries, museums, government agencies, film festivals among other venues.
I recently came back from talks at NASA & Google.
My talks focus on the confining nature of labels and how despite their utility certain manifestations of labels do a disservice to the narrative of our lives. This has wide reaching impact on policy making, workplace practices, education efforts, true representation of our diverse perspectives, just about every aspect of our lives.
It is imperative we confront our own stereotypes and their place in our lives. Embracing our vulnerabilities creates the potential for change, for taking the path less taken, for acting outside the box, for genuinely learning about our true selves. We need to create spaces to manifest our stories on an equal platform. To express our stories and most importantly to listen to other stories.
The stereotype realization workshop is for middle to high schoolers and adults. It creates a space to honestly relfect on the stereotypes in our lives. The ones directed at us and those we direct at others. The key is to realize we are not alone in snap judging others. There are implicit and explicit biases. By confronting our thoughts and actions without judgement leads to avenues for real change. This workshop ranges from 45-90 minutes.
"I first got to know Vishavjit when Teaching Tolerance magazine featured him in an article titled "Behind the Shield" (spring 2015). During our time working on that story together, I came to know Vish as a creative and dedicated crusader for social justice. He has a clear vision for how art can be used to open minds and empower young people. He also has a compelling personal story that he uses humbly and effectively to connect with people from all walks of life. Since the article was published, I have had the pleasure of reading and sharing a number of Vish's pieces on his experiences as a Sikh American. I have found him to be a great communicator, a respectful collaborator and, most important, a true believer in the power of art to transform hearts and minds and make the world more peaceful."
"I am very thankful for Vishavjit Singh, who was a thoughtful and inspiring presenter at our school assembly.
My school is a very diverse one but also one without a diversity director. We are 6th-12th grade school with students from a wide range of cultures, countries, and backgrounds. Inevitably, there are some culture clashes, most of which derive from lack of awareness and stereotyping. As such, when Vishavjit Singh approached me about speaking at my school and discussing stereotyping, I leapt at the opportunity.
In a 45-minute assembly, Mr. Singh spoke of his life, his work, his struggles, his successes, and the ways in which others have tried to pigeonhole him based on his appearance or cultural background. My students were riveted throughout. The sixth graders wanted to delve into Mr. Singh's experience as an artist and as the Sikh Captain America. The twelfth graders wanted to hear more about prejudice and racism and stereotyping. And the faculty were able to enjoy seeing the students so engaged.
In the subsequent weeks since his visit, students have referenced Mr. Singh many times, asking when we will have more visitors like him! There can be no higher compliment from middle and high school students."
"Vishavjit is one of the most genuine and inspiring leaders that I have had the pleasure of working with while at the NYC Mayor's Office. He was instrumental in the early outreach efforts for NYC's mental health initiative, ThriveNYC. We worked together to organize a major public event geared towards eliminating the stigma around mental health . Before several hundred people, Vishvajit served as a panelist along with NYC Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. Using his creativity, experience, and understanding of intersectionality, he elevated the discourse on mental health for our staff and his participation has had a lasting impact. Vishavjit continues to be a frequent advisor to the Mayor's Office and agencies such as the Department of Education. I can't wait to see what his professionalism, easy-going style, and commitment to helping others will lead to next."
"Last year, I had Vish conduct a workshop on racial bias for students in an NYU undergraduate course offered through NYU’s College of Global Public Health. Bias is the primary means by which minorities are treated unequally in the medical system with dire consequences to patients’ physical and mental health. As soon as Vish started class, he made me jealous because of the ease by which he could foster discussion on this potentially contentious topic. It was fascinating for me to see the methods by which he unassumingly uncovered bias in a class that I am sure certainly thought possessed little bias. Individually, I saw transformations occur right before my eyes. Collectively, I saw the potential for global transformations seeded by the students’ lessons and realizations and their inevitable influence."
"Vishavjit visited our New York City K-12 independent school to address our middle schoolers on the subject of identity and stereotypes. His presentation was so well received by our students and faculty alike. His style is relatable and accessible yet productively provocative. He pushed students to think critically about the assumptions they take for granted. He challenged them to explore the stories of those around them, to go below the surface to seek deeper truths. He encouraged them to embrace the fullness and layers of their own stories. And he reminded them that they are heroes, folks who can make a positive difference in their communities by being upstanders. His storytelling and visually stimulating presentation captivated our middle schoolers, which is no small feat! He stretched their imagination and expanded their entho-religious literacy--a Sikh Captain America ... who knew?! Vishavjit has my highest recommendation. As an artist, activist, and storyteller, he is the right person to help elevate the conversation and consciousness among your students, K-12, on issues related to social justice, diversity, and equity."
"Mr. Singh very entertaining, good personality and asked us questions to keep us engaged throughout the presentation. I felt as though he took the thoughts people were thinking (and may not have said) and addressed them. Many of his comments were eye opening and I definitely gained a new perspective. For example, when Vishavjit mentioned that after 9/11 he was unable to attend his work for some weeks due to the glares, stares, and threats he was receiving because of his turban. This comment really made me understand the struggle he went through and how he was grouped into a class of people that he never was associated with."
Sikh Captain America wants to break down racial barriers - King 5 News (NBC)
Sikh Captain America visits Highline students - Highline Times
Sikh Captain America Visits and Inspires Friends' Central Middle Schoolers
Cartoonist Urges Students to Fight Stereotypes - Masters School
Maine Voices: A Captain America for civil rights - Portland Press Herald
Fighting Enmity Against Sikhs With Art, Talks and Superhero Garb - New York Times
First Ever Turbaned Art Of American School Children - BoredPanda
Man behind the Shield - Teaching Tolerance Magazine
How a Sikh Captain American can teach New York City kids about diversity - Animal NYC
Cartoon Gallery from Churchill School & Center in NYC - Blog
Creating Superheroes in NYC classrooms - Blog