A Sikh American from Camden is Subject of New Film in the NJ PBS 21 Digital Series

The Camden County film in the NJ PBS 21 digital series spotlights Karanveer Pannu, who promotes tolerance and educates about bullying.

July 22, 2022—NEWARK, NJ — NJ PBS announced that a Camden County resident is the newest subject of the digital film series, 21, streaming at MyNJPBS.org/21.

Produced by NJ PBS’s NJ Spotlight News team, the 21 digital film series investigates life in New Jersey and whether where you live affects how you live through the stories of change-making residents in each Garden State county. The short documentaries, six to 10 minutes, are accompanied online by snapshots that provide statistics, resources and other essential information for each county.

In the new episode Camden County, viewers meet Karanveer Pannu, an Eastern Regional High School graduate and Rutgers-Camden law student with a lifelong passion for civic engagement, public service, supporting diversity and tolerance. That passion has led to local and national acclaim and a roster of impressive accomplishments, including interning for U.S. Senator Cory Booker and U.S. Representative Donald Norcross, winning numerous academic and service awards, and writing and publishing his own book, Bullying of Sikh American Children: Through the Eyes of a Sikh American High School Student. He was the first member of the Sikh faith to sit on a Voorhees Township committee as a senior in college, serving a four-year term on the town’s zoning board. Pannu now travels the nation as a bullying prevention specialist, speaking at schools and conferences with the goal of reducing bullying while educating fellow Americans about the Sikh faith. To that end, he works with the Rutgers–Camden Sikh Students Association to broaden the understanding of the religion in the campus community.

“The more people get involved, the better the outcome,” he says in the film. “Everyone often complains about the system and how it’s not beneficial for folks, but if you’re just sitting on the sidelines, nothing’s going to change. So it’s important to be involved in it and get access because that’s how we’re going to make the change.”

The film Camden County captures Pannu’s quest to educate adults and kids about bullying in all its forms: cyberbullying, physical bullying and verbal bullying. His audience includes those who work with kids on a daily basis, from teachers, police officers, and school safety officers, to psychologists and psychiatrists. He shares his own experiences in the hope that others will be inspired to stand up for themselves and stop the bullying cycle.

“Being a turban-wearing Sikh kid, you’re often concerned how others perceive you,” Pannu says in the film. “In sixth, seventh grade, I was going to school. One day I remember passing a bus and there was an eighth grader on the bus and she just yelled out a racial slur for no reason. Things like that kind of stuck with me.”

To gain more insight into Pannu’s life and work, watch his interview on NJ PBS’s weeknight newscast, NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi, tonight, July 22 at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on NJ PBS (check local listings).

The 21 series has captured stories and statistics from AtlanticBergenCape MayEssexOcean and Passaic counties on its way to a line-up of all 21 in New Jersey. A community engagement component is also being planned to stimulate conversation about life in the Garden State.

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