November 3, 2016 (New York, NY) – Over the past year, bigotry and hate violence against Sikh Americans have spiked nationwide. Acts of terrorism inside the United States and abroad, mass shootings, and a vitriolic election cycle have made the Sikh articles of faith an easy target.

As the election approaches, we urge every Sikh to exercise extra vigilance and caution during this period of heightened vulnerability. If you have been a victim of hate violence or received threats of violence, please call law enforcement immediately. In addition, please contact the Sikh Coalition at 212-655-3095 or legal@sikhcoalition.org. We provide free legal assistance to Sikhs who have experienced backlash and discrimination. While we cannot accept all cases, our legal team conducts dozens of intakes every year relating to profiling, discrimination and hate violence.

“Our team is here for you as an insurance policy. We hope that you never need our legal resources, but we definitely want you to know how to contact us in the event that you do.”

Harsimran Kaur, Sikh Coalition Legal Director

In December 2015, the Sikh Coalition sent a letter to approximately 150 law enforcement agencies in all fifty states and major metropolitan areas. The letter provides general information on Sikhs and Sikhism, and requests law enforcement vigilance in responding to and investigating possible hate crimes and backlash against Sikhs and other vulnerable communities. In February 2016, the Sikh Coalition launched Report Hate (www.reporthate.org), an online tool for community members to document incidents of harassment, discrimination and hate violence.

We urge community members to review our FAQ guide on hate crimes, hate speech and on how to report incidents to authorities and the Sikh Coalition. Please also view our printable hate crime poster, which is available in both English and Punjabi.

As always, we encourage Sikhs to continue to practice their faith fearlessly.