On the weekend of August 4-6, 2017, the Oak Creek, Wisconsin community commemorated the five-year anniversary of one of the deadliest shootings in a place of worship in United States history. We were honored to participate in the Chardhi Kala 6K and the gurdwara commemoration services.
We solemnly remember Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suveg Singh Khattra, and Satwant Singh Kaleka. We continue to be inspired by the perseverance of those who were critically injured: Baba Punjab Singh, Bhai Santokh Singh, and Lt. Brian Murphy. And we admire the strength of the entire Oak Creek sangat, which sets a powerful example of resilience for the entire nation.
The Sikh Coalition condemns the white supremacist terror attack against our fellow Americans on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. A counter protester, Heather Heyer, lost her life and 19 were injured when a car driven by a white supremacist rammed into a group of people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
This tragedy came exactly one week after Sikh Americans nationwide remembered the lives lost when a neo-Nazi attacked a gurdwara five years ago in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Click here to take immediate action, including scheduling our free security consultation for your gurdwara.
The Sikh Coalition successfully completed a communications campaign to #RememberOakCreek that reached a potential 13 million Americans. This work was done by providing the Oak Creek community with direct communications support to ensure that the five-year anniversary was remembered nationwide.
Through 130+ print and broadcast news stories, 17 op-eds, and coverage of some of the 24 seva events across the country, we reached a potential audience of 13 million Americans. This work spearheaded a national conversation to #RememberOakCreek. Click here for more information and media highlights.
Inspired by the Oak Creek sangat’s Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Walk/Run, the Sikh Coalition organized the fifth annual National Day of Seva in honor of those who lost their lives and loved ones at the Oak Creek gurdwara on August 5, 2012.
Seva (selfless service) is an integral part of the Sikh tradition. Nationwide, Sikhs and their fellow Americans from the interfaith community and beyond participated in 24 community service projects in 23 cities – the most to date in the five-year history of the National Day of Seva project. Click here for photos and more information.
The Tennessee State Board of Education voted to approve new social studies standards on July 28, 2017, which for the first time ever include Sikhism. Click here to learn about our vigorous advocacy in partnership with the local sangat and allies that led to this education victory.
The new standards will give thousands of high school students in Tennessee access to educational content about the Sikh community, a major step toward creating awareness about Sikhs among our fellow Americans for generations to come. Tennessee now joins a growing list of states – including New York, New Jersey, Texas, California and Idaho – that have worked with the Sikh Coalition to include accurate information about Sikhs in their public school curricula. We look forward to adding to this list in the months and years ahead.
Two Sikhs Murdered in California
On July 24, 2017, the body of 68-year-old Subag Singh was found with visible trauma in a canal in Fresno, California. The following day, 20-year-old Simranjit Singh was shot and killed outside a gas station in South Sacramento, California. The Sikh Coalition offers condolences to the families of both men and has contacted police agencies in both cities to urge a thorough investigation. Anyone with information about the death of Subag Singh in Fresno should contact Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867. Anyone with information about the suspects involved in the murder of Simranjit Singh should contact Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP.
Empowerment Workshops Provide Tools to Address School Bullying
The Sikh Coalition increased our efforts this summer to reach as many Sikh youth as possible and equip them with the tools and resources they need to combat bullying in schools. These workshops allow our youth to build a definition of school bullying that applies to them, talk about the impact bullying can have, discuss the importance of speaking up as a bystander, and develop solutions to effectively deal with bias-based bullying in schools. The trainings also help students succinctly explain Sikhi to others. We hosted empowerment workshops in Lexington, Kentucky; Tennessee Gurmat Camp; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati Sikh Gurmat Camp; and Guru Harkrishan Institute of Sikh Studies, Maryland. Our next workshop is planned in Wappingers Falls, NY.
We presented on Sikhism at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office in Texas on July 27, 2017. Board member Manpreet K. Singh and Amrit Singh from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department joined an interfaith presentation to citizens and deputies in Fort Bend, which is considered the most ethnically diverse county in the United States.
Join the Eighth Annual Bowl-a-thon
The Sikh Coalition is excited to announce that the much-loved New York City Bowl-a-thon will be on October 15, 2017 at Bowlmor Chelsea Piers. Join over 400 bowlers and cheerleaders in support of our Sikh civil rights work. We consistently sell out well before the event, so register now to secure your spot!
The Sikh Coalition attended the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) 15th Annual Disability and Multicultural Coalition Conference on Aug 8, 2017. The TSA has been working with the Sikh community to ensure that Sikhs are treated with the same dignity and respect as any other traveler. Continued dialogue ensures that Sikhs are screened respectfully and that Sikhs will not lose their right to pat down their own turbans during additional screening. Since the creation of the TSA, the Sikh Coalition has advocated for Sikh civil rights and made religious headwear trainings for all TSA Officers mandatory. Our work with the TSA has drastically reduced incidents of Sikhs being forced to remove their turbans at airports in the United States. If you feel that you have been discriminated against or treated unfairly by the TSA, please use our FlyRights mobile app to instantly file a complaint.