Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director (National)
Sapreet is the Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition, and has been in this role since September 2009. She was a member of the Coalition's Board of Directors for two years prior to joining the organization as staff.
Sapreet previously served as the Managing Director of Strategy within the Human Assets team at Teach for America (www.teachforamerica.org), a national non-profit whose mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort. At Teach for America, Sapreet was responsible for facilitating the formulation and evolution of human capital priorities and strategies covering areas such as compensation, staff retention, organizational strength, and employee satisfaction.
In 2013, Sapreet became the first Sikh to speak in a Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service. She has appeared in/on several media outlets including the New York Times, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, National Public Radio, and Fox News. She volunteers with the Girl Scouts of the USA (www.girlscouts.org) currently serving on the National Board of Directors as a member of the Board Executive team in the role of International Commissioner. Previously, from 2008 to 2014, she served as a board member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (www.wagggsworld.org), a 10 million member worldwide movement across 135 countries providing non-formal education where girls and young women develop leadership and life skills through self-development, challenge and adventure. She also currently serves on the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation board of directors. (www.tutufoundationusa.org). Sapreet is a member of the National Organization of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, having served as a business volunteer in Uganda and Kenya from 1998-2001. She previously served on the Board of Directors of Fellowship of Activists to Embrace Humanity, a human development organization committed to fighting poverty and promoting education in South Asia.
Sapreet is a graduate of the Stern School of Business at New York University with a dual degree in marketing and international business.
Mark Reading-Smith, Senior Director of Communications & Media (Fremont, CA)
For media inquires please contact Media & Communications Director, Mark Reading-Smith. 202-380-8489, email@example.com.
Mark joined the Sikh Coalition in October 2014 as the Senior Director of Media and Communications. In this role, he is responsible for managing the Sikh Coalition’s daily media work and devising and implementing plans aimed at raising the profile of the Sikh Coalition’s issues. He also supports all program areas in communicating this work directly back to the Sikh community and broader public that the organization serves.
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, Mark spent six years as a Managing Director at Rethink Media, driving the media work and strategic planning on an array of national security and human rights issues across a sector of over fifty organizations. During that time he worked to challenge discrimination and hate crimes directed at American Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities, and was in charge of providing rapid response support to the Sikh Coalition in the weeks that followed the Oak Creek tragedy in 2012. His proven skills include crisis management, message development, reporter relationships, media training, and strategic planning.
He has facilitated dozens of successful hits in all of the leading national papers, placed leading experts on broadcast outlets ranging from NPR to CNN and MSNBC, and placed op-eds from authors working on issues ranging from Guantanamo, torture, surveillance, targeted killing, and racial profiling in nearly every top 50 print outlet in the country.
Previously, Mark investigated and reported for the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism, co-writing Iraq: The War Card - the most widely viewed investigation in CPI's twenty-five year history. Mark holds degrees in political philosophy and international relations from Michigan State University.
Rajdeep Singh, Senior Director of Law and Policy (Washington, D.C.)
Rajdeep Singh joined the Sikh Coalition in December 2009 and serves as its Director of Law and Policy. As Director of Law and Policy, he focuses on developing and promoting policy solutions for civil rights issues through an interdisciplinary combination of government affairs, media relations, and interfaith coalition building. In this capacity, he has substantively engaged with the U.S. Congress, White House, and several federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State; published articles in the Washington Post and New York Times; appeared on numerous television and radio programs; delivered dozens of presentations at government agencies, law schools, and universities; and designed an advocacy training program for grassroots community volunteers.
In recent years, Rajdeep has spearheaded and managed successful campaigns to expand federal hate crime tracking; repeal an 87-year-old Oregon law that prohibited public school teachers from wearing religious dress; and pass historic equal employment opportunity legislation in California that protects religious observers from workplace segregation.
Rajdeep has a background in bank regulation and is the author of The Application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Appearance Regulations that Presumptively Prohibit Observant Sikh Lawyers from Joining the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps, which was published by the Chapman Law Review in 2007, and How State Photo Identification Standards Can be Used to Undermine Religious Freedom, which was published by the Asian American Law Journal at UC Berkeley Law School in 2012. He received his law degree in 2006 at the College of William & Mary and his undergraduate degree in philosophy in 2003 at the University of Miami. Rajdeep is a member of the Florida Bar.
Harsimran Kaur, Legal Director (Fremont, CA)
Harsimran joined the Sikh Coalition as a Staff Attorney in February of 2007 and moved into the Legal Director position in 2008. As Legal Director, Simran is responsible for all of the Coalition's legal cases, and litigates a docket of high impact cases that seeks to safeguard the civil rights of Sikhs and other minorities. Simran is recognized as a national expert on the rights of Sikhs in the workplace, and has been asked to speak on the subject by the American Bar Association and the National Employment Lawyers Association.
Simran has been an active volunteer for the Sikh Coalition since its founding. She previously worked with the Coalition in an "of counsel" capacity, assisting with lobbying efforts and acting as a liaison to federal agencies. Before joining the Coalition, Simran was an associate at Wiggins, Childs, Quinn & Pantazis, LLC, a litigation boutique firm specializing in federal civil rights matters and race-based employment discrimination in Washington, DC. During her tenure, she litigated individual, multi-plaintiff, and complex class action cases. Simran also held a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Alfred Nance of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, where she worked on a variety of civil and felony criminal matters.
Prior to her legal career, Simran did anti-poverty work in Philadelphia, PA. She obtained her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and Bachelor of Arts in History from Haverford College.
Simran Kaur, Western Region Director (Fremont, CA)
Simran joined the Sikh Coalition in September 2011 as the Advocacy Manager and transitioned to Western Region Director in May 2014. She is charged with leading organizational efforts in California. In 2012, Simran led efforts in California to pass the Workplace Religious Freedom Act - the nation's strongest protection against religious discrimination in the workplace. Simran has been interviewed by NPR affiliate KQED, and has had several op-eds published related to Sikh civil rights issues.
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, Simran managed a health program for Children’s Hospital Central California. Simran travels regularly for global health projects and has worked to improve access to health for immigrant and refugee communities. She is an active member of the Sikh community in California – volunteering with Jakara Movement, co-founding The Langar Hall – a progressive Sikh blog, is on the Editorial Board of the Sikh Love Stories Project and is a liaison for Saffron Press – an independent publishing house focused on multicultural literature. She is on the Board of Directors for The Women’s Building, a women-led community space that advocates self-determination, gender equality and social justice and has served as the Affirmative Action Officer on the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California.
Simran obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego and her graduate degree from Boston University School of Public Health.
Gurjot Kaur, Senior Staff Attorney (New York City)
Gurjot joined the Sikh Coalition as a Staff Attorney in February 2012. She provides direct legal services to victims of hate crimes, employment discrimination, bias-based school bullying, and other forms of discrimination. She has litigated high impact employment discrimination cases in federal court and represented clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, and the Department of Justice; she has spearheaded efforts to hold the TSA accountable for unlawful profiling of religious minorities at our nation's airports; drafted testimony and prepared the first Sikh to testify in front of the U.S. Senate at a hearing on Hate Crimes and Domestic Extremism, following the Oak Creek mass shooting; and represented a Sikh student in DeKalb County, Georgia, in a case that led to the first ever Department of Justice school settlement on behalf of a Sikh victim of school bullying.
Gurjot is licensed to practice law in Florida, New Jersey, and New York and is admitted to the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. She provided remarks at a new attorney induction ceremony, after she received the highest combined score on the Florida Bar examination in the Fourth District Court of Appeal, as well as one of the highest scores overall in the State of Florida.
Gurjot regularly appears on panels to discuss and debate racial profiling, post-9/11 backlash and discrimination issues in the U.S. She has been published in print outlets including The Washington Post , the Huffington Post, PolicyMic, and has made various media appearances, including Huffington Post Live and PTC Punjabi. She is an active member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the New York City Bar Association. She is also a member of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition.
Gurjot earned her J.D., summa cum laude, from the University at Buffalo Law School, where she was a three-year recipient of the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship. She graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she received her undergraduate degree in History, Philosophy, Politics and Law. She has previously been employed by the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Florida and Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio. She has practiced in the areas of family law, juvenile law, and civil rights, providing direct legal services to members of indigent and underprivileged communities in Florida and New York. She is the author of "A Case of Neglect? Representation for Children in the Florida Dependency System?" published in the Florida Bar Journal. In her spare time, She enjoys traveling the world and has visited parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.
Harjit Kaur, Community Development Manager (Fremont, CA)
Harjit Kaur joined the Sikh Coalition as Community Development Manager in May 2014. As Community Development Manager, she leads program development and implementation for Bay Area youth to encourage leadership and engage them in advocacy and social justice work. She is also responsible for community engagement efforts and education initiatives to raise awareness about Sikhs.
Harjit initially joined the Sikh Coalition as a graduate of the Sikh Advocate Academy, Class of 2012. In her role as a Volunteer Sikh Advocate, she supported key initiatives such as the passage of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of California and became a member of the Sacramento Area Hate Crimes Task Force at the U.S. Department of Justice
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, she was a part of the criminal defense team in a recent landmark case, led by Mani Sidhu, Esq., in which a battered South Asian woman in Yuba City was acquitted of first degree murder due to self-defense and the defense of her unborn female child. She currently serves as a board member of the Sacramento South Asian Bar Association and is the board secretary for the Sacramento Valley Charter School. She is also an adjunct professor and advisory committee board member for the legal assisting program at American River College.
Harjit earned her J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2011 and is licensed to practice in California. Harjit obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Sonoma State University.
Simran Jeet Singh, Senior Religion Fellow (New York City)
Simran Jeet Singh joined the Sikh Coalition staff in September 2013 as the Senior Religion Fellow and is responsible for strengthening relationships among faith communities and supporting media outreach.
Simran is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, focusing on devotional traditions and literatures of early modern South Asia. His expertise ranges from the formations of religious communities in early modern South Asia to xenophobia and hate violence in modern America. His dissertation research focuses specifically on the founder of the Sikh tradition – Guru Nanak– and the earliest available manuscript accounts of his life.
He earned an M.A. from the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures of Columbia University (2009), an M.T.S. in South Asian Religious Traditions from Harvard University (2008), and a B.A. in English Literature and Religious Studies from Trinity University (2006). He is currently a Truman National Security Fellow and the Scott and Rachel F. McDermott Fellow for the American Institute of Indian Studies. In addition to his role with the Sikh Coalition, Simran serves in a voluntary capacity as the Director for the Surat Initiative and the board for the Sikh Spirit Foundation.
Simran speaks and writes on a wide range of issues relating to religion and culture. He contributes regularly to a number of media outlets, such as The New York Times, TIME.com, The Washington Post, and Newsweek’s The Daily Beast. He has also appeared on various television and radio programs, including BBC, NPR, CBS, and PBS. and in 2014 Simran delivered a keynote address at The White House.
Satjeet Kaur, Development & Communications Director (New York City)
Satjeet Kaur joined the Sikh Coalition as an Education intern in October 2009, took on the role of Operations Manager in September 2010, became Development and Communications Manager in January 2011 before moving to her current position as Development and Communications Senior Manager in June 2013. As Development and Communications Manager, Satjeet is responsible for the Coalition's national fundraising efforts and communications.
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, Satjeet was coordinator at SAMAR, a South Asian focused marrow donor recruitment group, where she organized donor recruitment events and managed its communications and marketing. She also served on the Executive Board of the United Sikh Association at New York University as co-president for two years.
Satjeet graduated from New York University with a Bachelors of Arts in Religious Studies and Psychology. In addition to her work at the Coalition, Satjeet is actively involved as a volunteer in community projects such as Lahir, Saanjh and the Bridgewater Khalsa School.
Ava Master, Development & Communications Manager (New York City)
Ava Master joined the Sikh Coalition in June 2013 as the Development Manager and is responsible for for Sikh Coalition's national fundraising efforts.
Prior to becoming a full-time staff member Ava served at the Sikh Coalition as the Americorps*VISTA Development Associate from August 2011 to July 2012. After completing her year-long service with the Americorps Program and the Sikh Coalition, Ava joined ACE Programs for the Homeless as the Grants and Communication Specialist. At ACE, Ava was responsible for foundation outreach and communication efforts for the organization.
Ava graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies and a minor in Communications.
Balbir Singh, Operations Manager (New York City)
Balbir Singh joined the Sikh Coalition in May 2012. As the Operations Manager, Balbir is responsible for all of the Sikh Coalition’s operations, national volunteer coordination and intern management, as well as ensuring the fiscal and technological management of the organization.
Balbir graduated from Oglethorpe University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology as well as a Minor in Math. He graduated as a member of Phi Delta Epsilon, a medical fraternity, where he served as President, and Psi Chi, a psychological honor society. Balbir interned with the Office of Campus Life and was a Resident Assistant for two years. In addition, he was captain of the Lacrosse team and helped guide the team through its first two seasons in NCAA Division 3 lacrosse.
Balbir is an active volunteer at numerous Gurmat camps in the Midwest and the South, where he teaches kirtan and Gurmat. He is classically trained to play the dilruba and the taus: two historical Sikh instruments.
Harjot Kaur, Community Development Fellow (New York City)
Harjot Kaur joined the Sikh Coalition in January 2013 as a Community Development Fellow and currently leads the Sikh Coalition’s youth leadership development program, the Junior Sikh Coalition. In addition to her role at the Sikh Coalition Harjot is a Research Study Assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she helps manage clinical trials for the Neurology service. Previously, Harjot conducted research for Johns Hopkins University for a program evaluation study on New Jersey's state home visiting program. Additionally, Harjot has interned for organizations including Human Rights Watch and DirectWomen.
Harjot graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Science in psychology and anthropology, as well as a minor in Arabic. She is a member of national honor societies, Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Sigma Nu.
Simran Sachdev, Community Development Fellow (New York City)
Simran Sachdev joined the Sikh Coalition as a Community Development Fellow in April 2013. She helps manage the Junior Sikh Coalition, a youth development and leadership program, and provides support to other community development projects.
Simran also works as Internet Communications Coordinator at Physicians for Human Rights, where she spearheads the organization’s online advocacy and communication efforts. Simran is a writer and activist with a passion for promoting human rights worldwide. She has contributed articles to various online news sources, including The Daily Beast, Women’s eNews, AlterNet, and Lipstick & Politics.
Previously, Simran lived in Palestine and worked at a nonprofit school in the West Bank. Prior to this, she served as the Operations and Marketing Manager at HandCrafting Justice, a fair trade organization that promotes economic empowerment for women in developing countries.
Simran holds an MS in global affairs, with a concentration in human rights and humanitarian assistance, and a BS in communication studies, both from New York University.
Winty Singh, Social Justice Fellow (Fremont, CA)
Winty Singh joined as a Social Justice Fellow in March 2014. In his role, Winty provides support for the graduates of the Sikh Advocate Academy and assists with California-wide educational initiatives.
Winty began with the Sikh Coalition as a volunteer Sikh Awareness Presenter through the Sikh Presenter's Course. Then in 2012, Winty graduated from the Sikh Advocate Academy, and supported initiatives such as the passage of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of California, acted as a resource for media during the aftermath of the attack on the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and advocated to government officials on various Sikh civil rights issues.
Winty has been featured in a variety of media outlets including National Public Radio, Hyphen Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Globe, The Sacramento Bee and The Sacramento Business Journal. Additionally, he is a writer for Sikh blogs including The Langar Hall and American Turban. He is an active volunteer at local Sikh youth camps and has been engaged in several other Sikh community activities in California, including the Sikh Love Stories Project.
Outside of the Sikh Coalition, Winty works in the healthcare industry where he focuses on planning, business development, and strategy and has over 10 years of professional experience.
Jasjit Singh, Social Justice Fellow (New York, NY)
Jasjit joined the Sikh Coalition staff in August 2014 as the Social Justice Advocacy Fellow and is tasked with working with both government and community leaders in the greater New York area, to ensure the civil rights of Sikhs are protected equally alongside their fellow Americans.
Jasjit initially joined the Sikh Coalition as a graduate of the Sikh Advocate Academy, Class of 2013. In his role as a Volunteer Sikh Advocate, he supported congressional outreach efforts involving school bullying and Sikhs serving in the U.S. military. He has been a long time member of the Jakara Movement and has also volunteered with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, he worked at Ensaaf, a leading human rights organization working to end impunity and achieve justice for mass state crimes in India, with a focus on Punjab. Before beginning law school, he was also a High School Punjabi teacher at Kerman High School, located near Fresno, CA.
Jasjit earned his J.D. from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, located in San Diego, CA, in 2014. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. He has a particular interest in the political and religious atmosphere of Punjab, and has written several op-eds on the matter. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, working out, travelling, and eating.