Sikh Voice Speaks Out At Senate Hate Crime Hearing
On May 2, 2017, Dr. Prabhjot Singh – a Sikh American who has experienced hate violence firsthand – testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the urgent need to address hate crimes in the United States. Working with the Sikh Coalition, Dr. Singh urged government officials to make hate crime prevention a top priority.
The testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Dr. Singh and the separate Sikh Coalition written testimony called for better hate crime data, accountability for elected officials who promote hatred of minorities, and proactive engagement between government officials and the communities they serve to prevent hate crimes.
Game Changing FIBA Decision Lifts Headwear Ban
FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, unanimously approved a new rule on May 4, 2017 that will lift its ban on observant Sikhs and others wearing religious head coverings. The Sikh Coalition helped lead an advocacy campaign to fix a FIBA policy that forced observant Sikhs, Muslims and Jews off the court in international competition.
Since 2014, the Sikh Coalition and grassroots supporters worked to put pressure on FIBA to change its policy. From placing op-eds and securing news coverage, to working with congressional offices on multiple advocacy letters, we helped build a groundswell of public support for equal opportunity.
#Vaisakhi Campaign With U.S. Congressional Offices Reaches 9 Million Americans
50 bipartisan Members of Congress joined the Sikh Coalition to celebrate Vaisakhi by sharing over 60 social media posts that reached a potential nine million Americans.
The #Vaisakhi campaign trended on Twitter throughout the day, and for many congressional offices, it was the first time they had ever publicly celebrated Vaisakhi with their constituents. Click here to learn more, and click here to view tweets from U.S. Senate and House offices around the country.
First Observant Sikh Police Officer in Florida
Congratulations to Officer Tegpreet Singh, the first observant Sikh American police officer in the state of Florida!
This year, Officer Singh successfully completed his training with the Sebastian Police Department. Click here to view photos, courtesy of Officer Singh.
Sikh Coalition Emphasizes Solidarity & Accountability At ADL National Summit
On May 8, 2017, Sikh Coalition Executive Director Sapreet Kaur spoke to nearly 500 changemakers at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Annual Leadership Summit. The remarks focused on the Sikh story of resilience and perseverance in the face of bigotry, and emphasized the importance of government accountability and community solidarity in the wake of the recent national uptick in hate crimes.
Fateh! Sikhism Included in Idaho Classrooms!
In another sign of lasting educational progress, the Idaho Department of Education has moved to include accurate information about Sikhs in its Social Studies content standards. This decision ensures that 250,000 students enrolled in Idaho public schools from grades six through nine will gain a better understanding of Sikhs.
Help us Prevent Attacks on Gurdwaras
In response to concerns about increasing hate crime risk against Sikhs and other religious minorities in the United States, the Sikh Coalition is making gurdwara security awareness a top priority in 2017.
Federal and state government agencies have developed many free resources and trainings to help places of worship, including gurdwaras, minimize the risk of attacks. Over the last week, we have shared these resources with nearly 200 gurdwaras nationwide via email and social media.
Engaging Allies At SAALT Summit, ICNY Conference & Spotify Event
On April 4, 2017, Sikh Coalition Executive Director Sapreet Kaur joined a high-level panel at Spotify to discuss some of the new policies and executive orders that are impacting Muslim, Sikh and South Asian communities. On April 5, 2017, Sapreet spoke to nearly 150 faith leaders and local officials about the Sikh Coalition’s advocacy work at the Interfaith Center of New York’s annual social justice retreat. Later in April, Sapreet and Interim Managing Program Director Rajdeep Singh Jolly participated in two panels at the SAALT South Asian Summit. The first panel focused on the work required to resist policies of hate, and the second panel focused on a discussion for how to combat systemic policies tied to racial profiling.
Join Our Powerful Team of Civil Rights Fighters
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 brand 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.
Sikh Project Exhibition Hits Houston and New York City
Working with Sikh Coalition Board Member Manpreet K. Singh, we partnered with the city of Houston, Texas to bring our groundbreaking Sikh Project photography exhibition to Houston City Hall. We also partnered with New York University to bring the exhibition to NYU. Stay tuned for announcements of bringing the Sikh Project to additional cities in the future!
Our Sikh Project photography exhibition is a collaboration between the Sikh Coalition and U.K. photographers, Amit and Naroop. We first launched in November 2016, bringing empowering Sikh American stories to 6,500+ people in New York and another 20 million across the country through U.S. news. Additionally, BBC World News aired a video segment to over 300 million households globally.
Pentagon Celebrates Sikh Military Service
On April 28, 2017, Sikh Coalition Executive Director Sapreet Kaur delivered remarks at the fourth annual Pentagon ceremony honoring Sikh military service. The event, which included Sikh service members, comes just months after the U.S. Army announced dramatic improvements to the standards for Sikhs and other religious minorities who seek to serve their country with their articles of faith intact.
A special thank you to Lieutenant Colonel Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi for his tireless work organizing the event with the Office of the Pentagon Chaplain, and for his support in our successful multiyear campaign to end religious discrimination in the military. We also thank Brigadier General Jeffrey Kendall, USAF (retired) for his speech at the ceremony. Click here to watch video of the event.
Vaisakhi Resolutions and Proclamations
We recognize the work of community members across America who helped pass a Vaisakhi resolution in the U.S. Congress and Vaisakhi proclamations in the cities of Renton, WA; Kent, WA; Auburn, WA; Burien, WA; Norwich, CT; Lathrop, CA; Houston, TX; Hudson County, NJ; Alameda County, CA; San Mateo County, CA; and in the states of Kansas, Arizona, Michigan and Delaware. We acknowledge these and other communities that spread Sikh awareness this Vaisakhi. Click here for our #Vaisakhi video.
Maan Singh Khalsa Hate Crime Case Update
The two men accused of attacking a Sikh man in Richmond, CA last September were ordered to stand trial after a hearing in April. Click here to read local news coverage.
Both were charged in October with assault and assault with a deadly weapon, with prosecutors adding the enhancements of a hate crime. In September, the suspects allegedly beat Maan Singh Khalsa, knocking off his turban, and cutting his unshorn hair with a knife. The defendants are scheduled to return to court on May 18, 2017.
Scholarships for Sikh Students
The Association of Sikh Professionals is offering tuition awards ranging from $500 to $4000 per year to college-going students. Awards will be in the form of scholarships, grants through endowments or interest-free loans. Applicants will be considered based on their academic abilities, financial needs and involvement in Sikh activities. To qualify you must be admitted to or at an accredited two-to-four-year college. To apply please visit the ASP website listed here. Deadline for new applicants is June 8, 2017, and the deadline for re-applicants is June 23, 2017. Results will be announced by early September. The Sikh Coalition encourages interested students to apply.
Sikh Coalition Presents on Civil Rights
On May 13, 2017, Sikh Coalition Staff Attorney Pawanpreet Kaur will participate in a panel entitled “Attacks on Muslims and Immigrant Communities” at “Rise Up! For a Day of Resistance” held in Palm Springs, California. She will present on Sikh American civil rights issues, including hate crimes and backlash discrimination. Her co-presenters will be Johnathan Smith of Muslim Advocates and Thomas Saenz of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. The event is expected to draw an audience of over 100 Southern California activists and lawyers. Location and time: Mizell Senior Center from 1-5pm. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.