This June, we join Sikhs worldwide in remembering the Indian Army’s assault on Darbar Sahib (also known as the Golden Temple) and dozens of other gurdwaras throughout Punjab in 1984. Code-named Operation Bluestar, the assault claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Sikhs.
“I scrambled on my bike and started riding home, in the direction of the gunshots. I was ten.” -Sawinder Singh, 1984 survivor whose home was right beside the Darbar Sahib complex
We worked with Sawinder Singh in writing his account of the 1984 assault, and it’s available here.
Sawinder Singh’s story in Punjabi (Surat Panel)
1984 Living History Project
A Witness Among the Bodies (Ensaaf)
Survivor Interviews, Days After November 1984 (Ensaaf)
The Last Killing (Ensaaf)
Amnesty International Report
Human Rights Watch/Physicians for Human Rights Report
The U.S. State Department Report
Defendants Plead Guilty in Brutal CA Hate Crime
On May 18, 2017 two attackers were found guilty of felony assault and hate crime charges and sentenced to a three-year term in California state prison for the brutal attack against Maan Singh Khalsa. Mr. Khalsa, a Sikh American father and IT specialist, was viciously assaulted on September 25, 2016. Prior to the charges, the Sikh Coalition, community leaders and a coalition of civil rights organizations advocated vigorously for a hate crime investigation and prosecution.
“It will take me many years, maybe the rest of my life to heal from this attack. But the recognition of the attack as a hate crime – as harm to my dignity and my entire community – is the first step in the process,” said Mr. Khalsa during his statement in court. “I am deeply thankful to the Sikh Coalition for working with local authorities to ensure that this happened.”
Sikh Parents Granted Kirpan Accommodation At Kaiser Permanente
Two devout Sikh parents have received an apology from Kaiser Permanente along with a system-wide religious accommodation to wear their kirpans after being barred from entering an emergency care facility in Northern California. In October 2016, Jasjot Kaur Sidhu and Gurlaljit Singh were denied medical care related to Ms. Sidhu’s pregnancy. To read more, click here.
“Without the Sikh Coalition to protect our rights we know that securing a permanent kirpan accommodation would have been a very challenging task. We deeply appreciate the legal support and guidance.” – Jasjot Kaur Sidhu and Gurlaljit Singh
Sixth Sikh Advocate Academy Launches After Training in D.C.
For the sixth time since 2011, the Sikh Coalition successfully graduated 10 new talented volunteers from the Sikh Advocate Academy, our signature advocacy training program in Washington, D.C. The training featured Sikh Coalition staff and guest speakers on government engagement, media engagement and community engagement with a final day on Capitol Hill visiting congressional offices to discuss partnerships on hate crime prevention.
The new graduating class joins a talented pool of 60 advocates nationwide. These advocates have now become an integral part of the Sikh Coalition’s future civil rights work while reflecting our ongoing investment in our community.
Second Annual Southern California Bowl-a-thon Success
On May 21, 2017, the Sikh Coalition hosted the 2nd annual SoCal Bowl-a-thon. Over 200 sangat members, from grandparents to toddlers, enjoyed a fun-filled evening “bowling a strike for Sikh rights” and raised over $33,000! Special shoutout to top fundraising team Super Sikhs and top fundraisers Jeevan and Harsimran Sawhney.
A big thank you to our sponsors: Chugh Firm, Kaur and Singh Academy, Jusdeep’s Legacy Community Care Foundation, and Sikhlens.
Click here to see photos from the event.
Our Legal Work in Solidarity with Impacted Communities
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice entered into a settlement with Bernards Township, a local government body in New Jersey that refused to permit the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge to build a new mosque for over five years. Bernards Township cited zoning ordinances in its effort to block construction. Under the terms of the religious discrimination settlement, the local Muslim community will finally be allowed to build their house of worship, and leaders of the township will be required to undergo training on religious freedom laws.
The Sikh Coalition signed onto an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief for the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge because of the township’s clear attempt to thwart religious freedom and because the case has implications for minority faiths around the country.
Also in May, a federal appeals court rejected the Trump administration’s second immigration-related executive order, which may be considered by the Supreme Court. The Sikh Coalition rejects this order as unconstitutional and will continue to stand in solidarity with Muslims and other communities subject to discrimination because of nationality or religion. As members of an interfaith coalition represented by the law firm of Covington & Burling, we have signed onto several amicus briefs supporting challenges to the executive order. We support an immigration system that treats people with fairness and dignity, not one based on stereotypes masquerading as law.
New Staff Emphasize More Resources in Advocacy, Technology & Community Security
The Sikh Coalition is excited to announce three new staff hires, further enhancing the impact of our work moving forward. Sim J Singh is our new full-time National Advocacy Manager in Washington D.C. Sim will build upon our established advocacy in our nation’s capitol and spearhead new initiatives that engage at the local and state levels.
Maggie Lloyd is our new full-time Finance and Systems Manager in New York City. In this role, she is responsible for daily financial operations and ensuring that our tools and technology continue to evolve to meet the needs of the organization.
Finally, Aasees Kaur is our new Community Development Fellow. In this part-time role, she is responsible for the Sikh Coalition’s Gurdwara Security initiative, which provides safety resources and support to Sikh gurdwaras nationwide to minimize the risk of hate crime.
Join Our Team!
Do you have a passion for civil rights? Our powerhouse team is expanding. Click here to see all of our current career positions.
In addition to openings on our legal team, we are hiring for a new position: Senior Director of Talent & Administration. Reporting to the Executive Director and serving on the leadership team, the Senior Director of Talent & Administration will lead and manage the Sikh Coalition’s talent and human resources function across the organization. S/he will help ensure the Sikh Coalition is an exceptional place to work and grow, and strengthen the organization’s operational infrastructure and management practices during a time of change and growth.
‘The Sikhs’ Brochures
Our free educational brochures provide an easy way to inform friends, neighbors and colleagues about the basic tenets of Sikhism. Request ‘The Sikhs’ brochures to distribute at your workplace, your child’s school or your local gurdwara for any non-Sikhs who come to visit. They are now available in 18 languages and are a great resource when traveling all over the world. To get free physical copies of ‘The Sikhs’ brochures, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: contact name & affiliation; mailing address; phone number; quantity and language needed; how you intend to use the brochures.