Remember Tragic Oak Creek Gurdwara Shooting Five Years Later
On August 5, 2017, our nation will commemorate the five-year anniversary of the tragedy that took place in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. On August 5, 2012, a gunman walked into a Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) and murdered six, while injuring others.
If you can’t make it to Oak Creek, we urge you to either work with us to organize or join in one of the 20+ Day of Seva projects across the nation to honor those impacted and #RememberOakCreek.
Sikh Advocate Academy Shines in Recent Media Work To Combat Bigotry
On June 10, 2017, an organization designated as a hate group held anti-Muslim protests in over 25 cities nationwide. Given the inflammatory tone of these protests – and in light of recent hateful attacks in Kansas, Washington, and Oregon – the Sikh Coalition urged Sikhs to be vigilant in the cities where the protests took place and launched an op-ed initiative, working with Sikh Coalition Advocate Academy graduates in media markets across the country to combat bigotry and promote unity.
Advocate Soraya Deen argues that as we fight violent extremism, we should not stereotype Muslims.
Advocate Sharndeep Kaur Shoker in a Seattle Times op-ed calls for unity in the face of bigotry.
Advocate Anjleen Kaur Gumer extended a gurdwara open house invitation to promote awareness and education.
Academy graduate and new Sikh Coalition Community Development Fellow Aasees Kaur cautions in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the rally will set a bad example for children.
In late May, Advocate Harleen Kaur highlighted the heroism of the people who stood up to a violent anti-Muslim attack, two of whom lost their lives. Earlier in June, Jaydeep Bhatia urged for a proactive approach to combating hate crimes in the Modesto Bee. In addition, Sikh Coalition Advocate Balmeet Singh shared his story of combating bigotry in the current political and social climate, which was featured in the Los Angeles Times.
Sikh Actors for Primetime Network Show
As part of an effort aimed at encouraging more representation of diverse actors on network television, the Sikh Coalition joined the organizations Harness and Revolutionary Love for meetings with television showrunners and entertainment writers. In response, multiple primetime network shows have shown sincere interest in pursuing Sikh actors and characters on their upcoming seasons.
The Sikh Coalition put a call out for actor submissions in late June, and the community’s response was incredible. The deadline for submissions has now passed; thank you for your submissions, and we will keep you updated on this exciting initiative and future opportunities.
Know Your Rights Workshops Make Impact in NYC
The Sikh Coalition organized two simultaneous Know Your Rights workshops in New York City on June 25, 2017 – one at the Sikh Cultural Society Gurdwara and another at the Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Gurdwara. Staff members and guest presenters addressed hate crime and discrimination prevention, school bullying, gurdwara security and immigrant rights.
To learn more, click here.
Empowering Sikhs in Kentucky
Last month, the Sikh Coalition facilitated a free security consultation for the gurdwara in Lexington, Kentucky. Offered through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, these consultations give houses of worship practical advice on strengthening physical security and protecting their communities.
Sikh Coalition Senior Religion Fellow Simran Jeet Singh Responds to Hate Incident
“I had an unexpected encounter with racism Thursday that I wanted to share with you all, mostly because I learned a lot about how one can respond constructively to racial slurs.” — Sikh Coalition Senior Religion Fellow Simran Jeet Singh in an essay for NBC
Simran Jeet intervened when he faced a hate incident in early June. Read his essay in NBC Asian America.
Have you had a similar experience? Has someone else intervened on your behalf? Have you intervened on behalf of someone else? Share your story with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Our Team!
Do you have a passion for civil rights? Our powerhouse team is expanding. Click here to see all of our current open positions.
In addition to other openings, we are hiring for new positions: Senior Director of Talent & Administration, Community Development Director, and Community Development Manager (in Southern California).
Join us on the forefront of civil rights work!
Executive Director Offers Prayer at the Interfaith Center of New York
In June, Sikh Coalition Executive Director Sapreet Kaur shared the Mool Mantar (central Sikh prayer that opens the Sikh scripture), joining Buddhist and Jewish leaders at the Interfaith Center of New York. Click here to watch the video.
Sapreet was introduced by Rev. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of The Interfaith Center of New York. She was joined by Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, President of The Buddhist Council of New York; and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis.
Sikh Prayer at Interfaith Iftar
In early June, we participated in the NYC Interfaith Iftar in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters as we continue working to combat hate and build inclusive communities. Sikh Coalition Operations Manager Damanpreet Singh shared information on the writings from various spiritually elevated people in the Guru Granth Sahib.
Captain Simratpal Singh’s Change of Command Ceremony
On June 22, 2017, our client Captain Simratpal Singh delivered remarks at Ft. Belvoir as he officially took command of an engineer company inside 249th Engineer Battalion.
Captain Singh was the first Sikh soldier in over a generation to receive a religious accommodation while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army. Captain Singh’s landmark, long-term religious accommodation was granted in May 2016. This victory helped pave the way for an updated U.S. Army policy that significantly improves the standards for Sikhs and other religious minorities who seek to serve their country with their religious articles of faith intact. #LetSikhsServe
Click here to view photos of Captain Singh’s Change of Command Ceremony.
“The kirpan obligates a Sikh to the ideals of generosity, compassion and service to humanity. It acts as a reminder to its bearer of a Sikh’s solemn duty to protect others and promote justice for all.” — Sikh Coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur, quoted in the Baltimore Sun
On June 12, 2017, a Sikh man was arrested because of his kirpan but subsequently released. We worked with the Baltimore Sun on this story to further public education about the kirpan and Sikh articles of faith. The Sikh Coalition will endeavor to train police departments in the area about the religious significance of the kirpan so incidents like this are not repeated.
For more information about legal rights related to the kirpan, please download our kirpan fact sheet. If you wear a kirpan, we recommend that you keep a copy of our fact sheet with you.