The NDP’s Sara Singh trailblazing a path towards community growth

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BY: KRISTINA RAMCHARRAN

A young woman with a desire for higher education is what Brampton’s Sara Singh started out to be. But as the course of life went on, she was brought to even higher heights.

Today Sara Singh is an NDP Candidate running for an MP position in the riding of Brampton Centre.

“I was born and raised here in Brampton. I’ve lived here my entire life. My parents actually met here in the early 80s. My mom is from Guyana and my dad is from Punjab, India. It’s a very important part of who I am,” says Singh on the importance of experiencing diversity within the city of Brampton.

She adds, “For me, one of my reasons for running is because you know, having lived here my entire life, I really am concerned of how Brampton is being treated and the fact that [if] we are really getting our fair share of services.”

“I was always very interested in community activism, and advocating for people with disabilities, or environmental issues. So, when I finished my Masters in Halifax, I started to volunteer with Jagmeet Singh,” says Singh onthe beginning of her political journey.

Jagmeet Singh was not the only NDP she was associated with at the time, as she was also helping former NDP leader Stephen Lewis as well. “It was a nice juxtaposition of the old and the new,” she says on the experience of being able to work with both old and new NDP candidates.

“I’ve always had a leaning towards the NDP just based on my social justice interest, and the work I’ve done in the community, [in] that moment, and early in 2012 really started to shape my interest to get more involved in politics.”

“I continued doing a lot of work in the community,” says Singh, while also referencing the current Ph.D.she is working on which highlights public policy while she also wants to continue working on ways for students with intellectual disabilities to gain proper access to post-secondary education.

Advocating for those with disabilities has been an integral part of Singh’s life, as she has a younger sister struggling with Down Syndrome.

“Seeing her resilience and her perseverance, she just aims high and achieves those goals. It really motivates me to work harder, to push harder, and it’s a big reason that I actually put my name on the ballot as well as doing all this advocacy work for people with various disabilities.”

For Singh,it’s about more than just helping people in the community, but also the small business’ that exist within it. “My parents being small business owners here in Brampton also really helped me understand how the business community was being affected, and the changes that we needed to make to support them more effectively as well.”

Singh notes that it is important to continuously improve and aid small businesses as it is a key component that the community of Brampton thrives on.

As far as support goes, Singh is proud to say she has all the support she needs starting with her family. “My family is like amazing, they’re like we need leaders that are well educated, that aren’t afraid to stand up, and who can speak for different communities as well.”

Others that have helped her blaze the trail so far include Current NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Former NDP leader Stephen Lewis. “They both motivated me tremendously to move forward in this process.”

As the only female candidate running in the Brampton area for the NDP, and the only Indo-Caribbean female candidate, Singh notes that there are some challenges that she works to overcome.

“There have been a number of challenges, as a young woman it is extremely daunting to put your name on the ballot, and you face so much different types of pressures being a female,” says Singh on being a young woman in politics.

She adds, “For a young woman, you’re being judged on more than just on your knowledge, there is a lot of judgmenton your appearance.” She even adds that people have voiced their opinions on her looks over social media to her.

“I want people to be able to move forward and look past an appearance, I really want them to know that there issubstance and credentials behind the name and face,” says Singh noting that she is in a very male-dominatedspace and is thankful to have a seat at the table, ensuring the voices of women are heard.

Ending her thoughts with an inspiring quote which pushes her as she graces the campaign trail is “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. Singh says this quote inspires her to fight all sorts of injustice to reflect only positivity within society.

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