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)
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, 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.
Arjun Singh, Director of Law and Policy (Washington DC)
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.
Satjeet Kaur, Development & Communications Director (New York City)
As the Development & Communications Director, Satjeet is responsible for implementing the day-to-day and long-term vision for securing the financial resources required for the Sikh Coalition to be successful, while strengthening the organizational brand with the audiences that matter most for our sustained success.
Working with the Sikh Coalition board and senior staff over the past three years, Satjeet has helped the Sikh Coalition continue to grow into the largest Sikh advocacy organization in the United States. Through her innovative fundraising plans, partnerships and trusted relationships, Satjeet has helped to double the resources that the Sikh Coalition now provides to the community. She has simultaneously upgraded the processes and content for how we effectively communicate our work across all of our organizational channels.
As a graphic design expert, when Satjeet is not working on fund development initiatives, she expertly drives our website, develops our fundraising and program brochures, and oversees video content. Additionally, Satjeet has been the driving force behind the social media plan that has averaged 20,000 new social media followers for the organization every year.
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, Satjeet was a marketing, communications and donor recruitment specialist for SAMAR – a South Asian focused marrow donor recruitment organization.
Fluent in Punjabi, Satjeet is a graduate of New York University with degrees in Religious Studies and Psychology. When not spending time with her family , Satjeet can be found working on other Sikh community initiatives. As a board member for Lahir, she also spends time raising awareness about the Sikh community through the arts.
Pawanpreet Kaur, Staff Attorney (Oakland, CA)
Pawanpreet Kaur joined the Sikh Coalition in July 2016 as a Staff Attorney. In this role, she provides direct legal services to the Sikh community in California, and supports the Sikh Coalition’s nationwide impact litigation and advocacy efforts related to combating hate, profiling, employment discrimination and religious rights abuses.
Pawanpreet has a longstanding commitment to civil rights and social justice work. As an Ella Baker Legal Intern at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a Legal Fellow at the Sikh Coalition, Pawanpreet has worked on post-9/11 civil rights issues impacting Sikh and South Asian communities. Before law school, Pawanpreet worked on education civil rights issues as a Liman Fellow at Public Advocates, Inc. and a Harvard Center for Public Interest Careers Fellow at the Campaign for Educational Equity. She currently serves on the board of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, where she organizes free legal clinics for South Asian communities in the South Bay.
A Central California native and fluent Punjabi speaker, Pawanpreet enjoys biking and spending time in nature whenever possible. Pawanpreet holds her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall) and Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University.
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.
Jagmeet Singh, Media and Communications Manager (New York, NY)
Jagmeet Singh joined the Sikh Coalition in October 2015 as the Communications Manager. In this role, he is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure that executes social and traditional media initiatives. His work expands the growing footprint of our work on behalf of civil rights and the broader Sikh community.
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, Jagmeet worked as a documentary filmmaker and journalist, reporting and producing for NPR and CBS affiliate stations. His documentary film work has garnered accolades from South by Southwest and The Webby Awards. Jagmeet uses his video and audio production skills to create clear, compelling communication for civil rights work.
Born and raised in small-town North Carolina, Jagmeet earned his Master’s degree from the UNC School of Media and Journalism. He is proficient in reading and understanding Punjabi. When left to his own devices, Jagmeet walks the streets listening to instrumental dance music and podcasts.
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)
Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University. He is the Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, a Truman National Security Fellow for the Truman National Security Project, and a Handa Fellow in Interreligious Communication.
Simran’s academic expertise focuses on the history of religious communities and literatures in South Asia, and he has taught at Columbia University and Trinity University on Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, and Sikh traditions. His dissertation centers around a text called the Puratan Janamsakhi, which stands as the earliest known account of the founder of the Sikh tradition. Simran’s recent scholarship and public engagement examines xenophobia, racial profiling and hate violence in post 9/11 America. His latest scholarly article on this topic is entitled “Muslimophobia, Racialization, and Mistaken Identity.”
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, and he frequently offers his perspectives to television, radio, and print media. Simran also speaks regularly on a variety of topics related to diversity, inclusion, civil rights, religion, and hate violence, and his thought leadership extends to a number of audiences, including public venues like the White House and Pentagon and educational institutions like Princeton University and Dartmouth College.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Simran is a diehard Spurs fan and avid marathon runner. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Manhattan, New York, where his wife, Dr. Gunisha Kaur, teaches and works as an anesthesiologist specializing in global health at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Simran is fluent in multiple languages, and he holds a PhD from Columbia University, a graduate degree from Harvard University, and an undergraduate degree from Trinity University.
Ava Master, Development & Communications Manager (New York City)
Ava Master has been an integral part of the Sikh Coalition’s communications and fund development programs since June 2013. Since then, she has provided direct support to growing the Sikh Coalition’s brand through social media and email communications, while coordinating on content creation across all core advocacy areas of our work.
Ava has been the project leader on massive fundraising events, including the New York City Bowl-a-thon, while also handling project coordination around large-scale initiatives, like the Pentagon services. While Ava’s work often remains behind-the-scenes, her fingerprints touch nearly every aspect of the Sikh Coalition’s success in recent years.
Prior to joining full-time, Ava served as the Americorps *VISTA Development Associate with the Sikh Coalition and as a Grants and Communications Specialist for ACE Programs for the Homeless. Originally born in Pakistan, Ava holds degrees in International Studies and Communication from the University of California, San Diego. Ava has a passion for theater, and when she is not working, she can often be found catching a Broadway performance.
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 the 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.
Maggie Lloyd, Education Fellow (New York City)
Maggie Lloyd joined the Sikh Coalition as an Education Fellow in August 2016. She works on research to facilitate the Sikh Coalition’s strategy for increasing accurate representations of Sikhism in the public school curriculum nationwide.
Maggie graduated with honors from Carleton College in June, where she studied Religion with a concentration in South Asian Studies. Maggie’s academic work on the American Sikh community culminated in her thesis on Sikh experiences navigating prejudice and identity in post-9/11 America. She is excited for the opportunity to apply this research in her role as an Education Fellow.
In both her academic and personal life, Maggie enjoys storytelling in all its forms. She spends much of her free time listening to podcasts, reading and writing fiction, and walking and talking with friends and family.
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.