Our Staff

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, mark@sikhcoalition.org.

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.

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, Harsimran is responsible for all of the Sikh Coalition's legal cases, and litigates a docket of high impact cases that seeks to safeguard the civil rights of Sikhs and other minorities. Harsimran 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.


Harsimran has been an active volunteer for the Sikh Coalition since its founding. She previously worked with the Sikh 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, Harsimran 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.

 

Arjun Singh, Director of Law and Policy (Washington, D.C.)

Arjun joined the Sikh Coalition in June 2015 as the Director of Law & Policy. In this role, he is responsible for advocating and promoting policy solutions to civil rights issues that impact Sikhs and the broader American public. His work focuses on government affairs on Capitol Hill, inside the White House, and across numerous federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State. Additionally, Arjun is an integral contributor to our media relations, coalition building, and regional advocacy campaigns.

Arjun joins the Sikh Coalition with nearly a decade of litigation and advocacy experience focused on civil and human rights in Washington D.C. First, he spent six years working as a Government Affairs and Litigation Associate at the international law firm of Covington & Burling LLP, where his clients included victims of government profiling, national security detainees, and criminal defendants on death row. More recently, Arjun worked as a National Legislative Counsel for human rights and national security related affairs at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He is a regular contributor to national media outlets like Al Jazeera America, CNN, the Washington Post, and USA Today, and is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches a course on 21st century policing and surveillance.

Arjun is a graduate of New York University School of Law and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

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.

 

Harjot Kaur, Community Development Manager (New York City)

Harjot Kaur joined the Sikh Coalition in January 2013 as a Community Development Fellow and became the Community Development Manager in April 2015. She currently leads the Sikh Coalition’s youth leadership development program, the Junior Sikh Coalition. Previously, Harjot was a Research Study Assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she helps manage clinical trials for the Neurology service. Harjot also 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 Jeet Singh, Senior Religion Fellow (New York City)

Simran Jeet Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University. He is also the Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition and is responsible for educating the broader American public about the Sikh faith and traditions.

Simran’s academic expertise focuses on the formations of religious communities and literatures in early modern South Asia. His graduate training focused on the history of religions in South Asia, and he has taught courses at Columbia University and Trinity University on Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, and Sikh traditions. Simran’s recent scholarship and public engagement at the Sikh Coalition also engages issues of xenophobia, racial profiling and hate violence in our post 9/11 America.

Simran is a prolific writer who has contributed over 50 opinion pieces to news outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. He has become a consistent expert for reporters and news outlets across the world on national security, civil rights, religion and culture. His thought leadership also extends to the White House and Pentagon, where he has given keynote addresses on behalf of the Sikh community.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Simran is a diehard Spurs fan and avid marathon runner. He currently lives between San Antonio and Manhattan, New York -- where his wife, Dr. Gunisha Kaur, teaches and works as an anesthesiologist at Cornell Medical College.

Simran is a Truman National Security Fellow who is fluent in multiple languages, including Punjabi. He holds a PhD from Columbia University, a graduate degree from Harvard University, and an undergraduate degree from Trinity University.

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.

Damanpreet Singh, Operations Manager (New York City)

Damanpreet Singh joined the Sikh Coalition as an Education Intern in 2013, returning as the full-time Operations Manager in 2015. At the Sikh Coalition, Damanpreet manages the day-to-day operational and human resource aspects of the Sikh Coalition’s work. This includes national volunteer coordination, internship programs, event planning, as well as the fiscal, office and technological needs of the organization. He is a fluent Punjabi speaker.

A native New Yorker, Damanpreet received his B.A. in 2015 from Tufts University, where he studied History. His studies focused on understanding ideas of a Sikh nation and homeland within the contexts of migration and displacement in North America and postcolonial India. In 2014, Damanpreet spent time in New Delhi, where he worked to compile an oral history archive of the anti-Sikh violence in November 1984. Most recently, Damanpreet worked with teens in the Boston-based Sub/Urban Justice, a grassroots community organizing initiative that works to build youth power. In his role with the Sikh Coalition, Damanpreet continues his work on behalf of the Sikh American community, with the goal of building solidarity across different communities and identities.

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.

 

 

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