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Open Minds Student Spaces x South Asian Heritage Month: Growing Our Joy

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An open and non-judgemental space for self-identifying LGBTQ+ Punjabi and/ South Asian students to connect, learn and support one another

About this event

We acknowledge that everything happening now and over the last year has impacted students in a big way. We could have been hit by family challenges, grief, living alone, exam and work stress, as well as all of the other things involved with being a student.

This group is an open, inclusive and non-judgemental space for university students to connect, learn and support one another, which has been running fortnightly since May. There will be three sessions throughout July - you can attend whichever sessions you are interested in.

Who is this for?

This discussion group is for all students (aged 18+) who identify as Punjabi and/ South Asian whether culturally, geographically or linguistically, and this is a queer affirmative space for those who identify with any aspect(s) of gender, sexuality and relationship diversity. It is open to those of all faiths and none.

This group is open to students from different cultural backgrounds as long as they are comfortable in a space that is sensitive to South Asian cultures.

What will this discussion focus on?

This session is an invitation to come together - to connect with ourselves and each other, as a support and antidote to what has been (and may continue to be) difficult experiences during the Pandemic.

Together, we will foster a safe, open, non-judgemental and inclusive space, where we can share our current experiences and those from over the past year or so (whatever that has looked like!), explore our wellness and celebrate the joy that we are!

This space offers a place for self-expression and peer support through attentive listening and sharing, and a chance to connect with other students around the country and world. You can learn about well-being, further develop self-care and engage in an inclusive space that is open to all discussions concerning student life, identity, culture and wellness.

This session will be held by Kirath (she/they) of The Open Minds Project, and joined by guest facilitator Laks Mann, the LGBTQ+ lead for South Asian Heritage Month.

This week's session we may want to think about questions such as:

What are my joys?

How do I track and take care of my mental/physical/spiritual health? If at all

When and how do I notice difficult feelings surrounding any aspect(s) of my identity?

How do we grow our joy?

Within our group (and smaller/ breakout room) discussions, the session may involve invitations from Kirath for you to engage in creative/holistic/ mindful exercises, which often includes using breathing and body awareness, movement/ expression. This is offered with the intention to increase awareness and self-care, and to compliment the areas of exploration and support we are discussing. Please note that these activities (in the same way as speech/chat) are always optional, and remember to only ever do/ share what is comfortable for you.

If there is anything you may need further support with during the session, please make either someone you are comfortable with, or one of the facilitators aware of what is going on for you (speak-up or send a message in the chat - to the group or direct to an individual).

A bit about the facilitators

Laks is the LGBTQ+ Lead for South Asian Heritage Month and the Founder of Gaysians UK. He is a Mayor of London appointed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser to City Hall, and advocates through an intersectional lens of race, ethnicity, faith, LGBTQ+, and working class lived experiences.

Laks is listed in the UK’s Top 30 BAME Leaders of 2020 by University of Oxford, House of Commons, and OBV. Laks is a 2020 Finalist for the National Diversity Awards, British Diversity Awards and European Diversity Awards.

Kirath is an Integrative Psychotherapist working with individuals and groups, within the NHS, charity and community sectors and has a small private practice. Kirath’s approach is holistic, inclusive and creative; inviting connections with all aspects of ourselves to gain better awareness, empowerment and sense of wellbeing.

Sign-in instructions:

Places are limited so we recommend booking your space soon. Feel free to get two tickets and come along with a friend.

The meeting will be held via Zoom and sign-in instructions will be emailed in advance of the session. Please join the event promptly so we can start our session on time and note the meeting will be locked after 15 minutes. If you want any more info or have any accessibility requirements, please send an email to info@theopenmindsproject.org

We request that while in attendance you keep your videos on, this is for the comfort, safety and inclusion of all group attendees.

See you soon!

If you need urgent support please make contact with:

SHOUT by texting 'SHOUT' to 85258 which is a 24/7 support line

📚💛

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Date and time

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Organiser The Open Minds Project

Organiser of Open Minds Student Spaces x South Asian Heritage Month: Growing Our Joy

The Open Minds Project started in December 2018 after a conversation between Sarbat Sikhs and Taraki looking to find a way to support Punjabi LGBTQ+ people in London with their mental health and wellbeing.

It started as a face to face group in London and then Birmingham and is currently an online only group welcoming LGBTQ+ people with Punjabi heritage across the world.

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