On October 28, 2011, Secretary Arne Duncan from the U.S. Department of Education spoke at a news conference organized by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In his remarks, Secretary Duncan noted that Asian American children are more likely than others to experience bullying and highlighted the efforts of the Sikh Coalition to collect survey data on school bullying. (Click here to watch a video of his remarks.) According to Secretary Duncan: "We know that relevant and timely data is particularly important. For example, take the issue of bullying. The most recent data show that Asian Americans are more likely than other groups to be bullied in the classroom and three times more likely to be cyber-bullied once or twice a month. In fact, community groups, like the Sikh Coalition, have released reports that document the rise of harassment of Sikh American students in New York City and the Bay Area."
The Sikh Coalition is grateful to Secretary Duncan for highlighting the plight of Sikh children and encourages the Sikh community to join us in efforts to overcome the problem of school bullying in the United States. Please report school bullying incidents to the Sikh Coalition by clicking here.
Sikh Coalition Highlighted in U.S. Congress
On October 26, 2011, during an oversight hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, Congresswoman Judy Chu highlighted the impact of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening policies on Sikh travelers. You can watch her exchange with Janet Napolitano—Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—by clicking here.
Although the TSA claims on its website that current advanced imaging technologies detect "metallic and nonmetallic threats … concealed under layers of clothing without physical contact," Secretary Napolitano in her testimony stated that "current technology" cannot detect threat items concealed under "bulky headgear." The Sikh Coalition is troubled by these contradictory statements and will continue to advocate for smarter screening policies and technologies that keep travelers safe without violating civil rights.
Sikh Coalition Advocates Continue to Score New Achievements
Graduates of the Sikh Advocate Academy continue to score new achievements. On November 4, 2011, KQED Radio—an affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR) in Northern California—broadcast an essay entitled A Sikh's Prayer by Sikh Coalition Advocate Meeta Kaur. On November 16, 2011, Sikh Coalition Advocate Monica Kaur contributed a Sikh perspective to a Texas ACLU letter, which was issued to school administrators statewide and which reminds them of their legal obligation to protect children from religious discrimination. These achievements build upon a series of high-impact actions by the Sikh Coalition Advocates in the cause of promoting civil rights throughout the United States.
Sikh Presenter's Course Graduate Speaks to New Jersey Educators
The New Jersey Council for the Social Studies held its annual conference at Rutgers University on October 27, 2011. The conference is meant to give teachers new resources, support, and advice on how to teach new concepts to their classes. This year, the Sikh Coalition was invited to present on a panel entitled, "Teaching About World Religions in New Jersey." The panel also included Hindu and Muslim representatives. Savraj Singh Dhanjal, a Sikh Presenter's Course graduate, spoke about the importance of teaching Sikhism in the classroom, as per the new Social Studies Content Standards that now include Sikhism. He distributed a packet of information to the educators, which included lesson plans, information on teaching Sikhism, and other educator resources. Savraj also spoke about how Sikh students are more susceptible to bias-based bullying because of their visible external identity.
Arlene Gardner, the Executive Director for the New Jersey Center for Civic Education said, "Thanks so much for presenting such a fantastic workshop at the NJCSS annual fall conference. The workshop was well attended and well received." Teachers commented that it was a much-needed topic and was very informative. The Coalition would like to thank both Arlene Gardner and Savraj Singh Dhanjal for organizing and delivering this presentation.
Greater New York City Sangat Raises Nearly $65,000 at the 2nd Annual NYC Bowl-a-Thon
On Sunday October 23, 2011, 182 enthusiastic bowlers and over 100 cheerleaders participated in the Sikh Coalition's 2nd Annual New York City Bowl-a-Thon. Everyone bowled to the bhangra beats of DJ Kucha and laughed along with Toronto comedian Jus Reign. The event surpassed all expectations for celebrating the Sikh identity and raised nearly $65,000 to support the work of the Sikh Coalition. Thank you bowlers and cheerleaders!
The Sikh Coalition is now Accepting Applications for Spring Internships
The Sikh Coalition Internship Program gives students hands-on experience in promoting civil and human rights. Throughout the years, interns have worked to further the mission and vision of the Sikh Coalition by helping to achieve legal victories, as well as educating and empowering the community and contributing to the growth of the organization. For more information about our internship program please click here