In a major breakthrough, the Sikh Coalition's ongoing research and advocacy work on school bullying was highlighted in a September 2011 report to President Obama and Congressional leaders by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Entitled Peer-to-Peer Violence and Bullying: Examining the Federal Response, the report draws heavily from the Sikh Coalition's school bullying surveys in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area and also from the Sikh Coalition's before the Commission last May.
The official findings of the report note that "roughly half to over three-quarters of Sikh students" are targeted for bullying, harassment, or violence. In addition, the report carries several direct quotes from the Sikh Coalition, including the following recommendation to federal officials: "[W]here children's civil rights are being repeatedly violated, and where school officials take a casual approach toward their obligations to protect children from harm, federal intervention becomes a moral imperative."
If you or your children would like to get involved with the Sikh Coalition's campaign to end school bullying in American schools, please send an email to email@example.com or sign our petition to Congress urging them to support the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
Sikh Coalition turns 10!
As the Sikh Coalition and America solemnly remembered the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Sikh Coalition also marked its first ten years as an organization. As many of you know, the Coalition was born on 9/11 as a response to the backlash violence experienced by Sikhs around the country. We began as a volunteer effort that very night when an elderly Sikh and two teenagers were violently attacked in Queens, New York in "reprisal" attacks by fellow Americans. The group that became the Sikh Coalition issued a press release the next day under the organizational title "Coalition of Sikh Organizations of New York," condemning the terror attacks and calling on police to better protect our community.
Anticipating more bias attacks, the emerging Sikh Coalition began creating press kits the next day to enable Sikhs across America to organize at a grass roots level. With the aid of activists in Chicago, a website was set-up by September 12th to record the occurrence of hate-crimes and report them to police and the federal government. Other activists from various cities across North America joined the initiative, and the Sikh Coalition emerged within a month.
Today, only because of your support, the Sikh Coalition has the most full-time staff and largest budget of any non-Gurudwara Sikh organization outside of India. We have eight full-time staff members and offices in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington DC.
In our ten years, we have had notable victories against the United States Army, Transportation Security Administration and NYPD, breaking barriers for full Sikh participation in American life. We have also persuaded the state Boards of Education in Texas and New Jersey to incorporate information on Sikhs into the mandatory school curriculum. Most importantly, we have worked to change laws on workplace discrimination and school bullying that positively impact millions of people, Sikh and non-Sikh alike.
Both our many victories for the community and our institutional growth would not have been possible without YOUR support. Thank you for helping us complete this work for the benefit of the community.
Sikh Coalition Featured on C-SPAN Television
Last month, the Sikh Coalition participated in a panel discussion on Civil Rights Ten Years After September 11, 2001. The discussion was hosted by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and featured panelists from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Texas Wesleyan Law School. Click here to watch it on C-SPAN.
Sikh Coalition Speaks at Sikh Feminism Conference in Toronto
The Sikh Feminist Research Institute recently hosted "Our Journeys" - a Sikh Feminism conference in Toronto, Canada which was the first of its kind. A keynote address, which explored how Sikh Feminism can drive social change, was given by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh with Mallika Kaur and Geetanjali Singh Chanda. Two Sikh Coalition staff members participated in the conference. Tejpreet Kaur, Community Organizer, presented a paper on "Ik Onkar: Our Sacred Feminist Practice" discussing how Sikh feminists are challenging the notion of segregation between faith and politics by allowing the profound truth of Ik Onkar to ensure our interrelatedness in our work and communities. Simran Kaur, Advocacy Manager, facilitated a panel on "Diaspora and Culture" with a discussion focused on second generation Sikh women negotiating social pressures from both their "homeland" and Western culture. Over 120 people attended the inaugural conference with participants from across North America and the UK.
Diversity Video Winner
Over 850 public votes were cast to determine the winner of this year's Diversity Video Competition! Gulshan Singh took home first place with his film, "Let It Out". This film will be premiered at the Sikh Art and Film Festival in New York City this month. The second place winner was Jasleen Kaur with her film, "I Will Stand Up". The Sikh Coalition also recognized David Woo for his compelling portrayal of "Neel", a victim of school bullying and has decided to award a third place prize of $250 to David Woo.
Each video told a compelling story in a different way. They each help people understand how Sikh students are affected by bullying and will be used by the Coalition in its education work. If you haven't yet seen the videos in this year's competition, please click here.
Videos/Photos from the Bay Area 5K for 5Ks
On Saturday September 17, 2011, over 450 enthusiastic community members participated in the Sikh Coalition's first annual Bay Area 5K for the 5Ks Walk/Run. Participants ranging from infants in strollers to energetic grandparents in their nineties surpassed all expectations and raised over $55,555 for the Sikh Coalition.
The walk/run was followed by food, fun and entertainment. Ishmeet Narula, Mandeep Sethi, Raginder 'Violinder' Momi, and BAR-B: Bay Area Royal Bhangra rocked the stage. Children also participated on stage for story time with Inni Kaur, sang rhymes with Kikli and participated in a magic show with Vikram Singh. A youth focused activity area kept the young ones busy in Sikh focused arts & crafts and offered Sikh children's books and games.