The Hampton Roads community has recently lost an incredible human rights activist and a loving friend! Mrs. Jagdish A. Singh, at the age of 83, passed peacefully in her Chesapeake “Global Village” home surrounded by her loved ones on June 8, 2020. She died from complications of a stroke. She was known as "Lady Jay" by many of her dear friends. She lived a fulfilled life with her unshakable values of Faith, Freedom, and Family.
Lady Jay was raised in a multigenerational family in a small village of Haveli Chobdar, Punjab, India. She was first in her family who attended college and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Baring Union Christian College Batala, India. She immigrated to America in the 1960's. She received her Master's Degree in Education, Guidance and Counseling from Old Dominion University.
Lady Jay was an inspirational woman and a role model for many of us. Her primary desire in life was to create a world of love without hatred. She enriched the world with her love for all people. She is always kind, gentle and loving. There was never a harsh word from Lady Jay. When she spoke, it always filled with sincerity and encouragement such as “You’re doing a great job” and “I’m so proud of you.” Her compassion shined through her words. She called her home in Chesapeake the "Global Village" because she passionately welcomed all races and all nationalities to join her for a cup of tea or a home-cooked
meal. Her love and kindness touched so many hearts throughout her life.
She was active in politics and a champion for human rights as well as diversity and inclusion. She received numerous distinguished humanitarian awards including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Implementing the Dream Award, Mary Helen Thomas Award for Racial Justice, Rumi Peace and Dialogue Awards, Hampton Roads Human Rights Award, and other public service awards for her lifelong pursuit of peace and non-violence. She was highly respected in the Hampton Roads community and a devout Sikh. Her servant leadership was humbly delivered to the people in this community. She built a strong cultural foundation of the Asian Indian American and broader Asian American communities in Hampton Roads.
She was a founding member of the area’s Sikh and Hindu places of worship, namely Hindu Temple of Hampton Roads and Guru Nanak Foundation of Tidewater. She was also the founder of India Fest, founder of Asian Indians of Hampton Roads, and founder of local chapter of the Indian American Forum for Politics. She served on several boards including Multi-Cultural Alliance of Virginia, Asian Indians of Hampton Roads, and the Asian Business Association of Hampton Roads. She played a key role in bringing the Asian Indians of Hampton Roads into the Asian Business Association of Hampton Roads in 2012, serving on the ABAHR Board from 2011 to 2014 and continuing to actively serve as an Advisory Board Member until her passing in 2020.
Later in her life, she expanded her charity work to India along with her husband, Dr. Amerjit Singh. She supported education for economically disadvantaged children, job training for women, clean water access in rural villages in India, and raised awareness of human trafficking.
Lady Jay is survived by her husband of 60 years, Dr. Amarjit Singh, her 4 daughters, Mini, Simi, Shamina, and Manveena (Tuni, deceased) and her 5 grandchildren including Alexander, Armaan, Tillman, Ava and Gavin.