May 31, 2017 (Washington, DC) – For the sixth time since 2011, the Sikh Coalition successfully graduated 10 talented volunteers from the Sikh Advocate Academy, our signature advocacy training program in Washington, DC.
Following a competitive application process, our volunteer advocates received three full days of professional training from Sikh Coalition staff and guest speakers on government engagement, media engagement and community engagement. Last Thursday, the training culminated in 10 visits to congressional offices, where volunteer advocates offered to partner with their representatives to organize grassroots community forums on hate crime prevention.
Since 2011, the Sikh Coalition has trained over 60 community volunteers on the same advocacy techniques that we use to promote civil rights and achieve justice. The Sikh Coalition’s volunteer advocates are an integral part of the Sikh Coalition’s network and reflect our commitment to investing in our community.
“The Sikh Advocate Academy is an incredible opportunity to learn new skills that help promote civil rights in our local communities,” said 2017 Advocate, Harleen Kaur. Harleen immediately returned to Oregon and responded to the Portland fatal stabbing with a letter to the editor urging public officials to do more to combat hate. Harleen joins Jaydeep Bhatia, Mohkum Sethi, Balmeet Singh, Sharndeep Shoker, Simrankaur Wahan, Harnoor Singh, Ravneet Gill, Jagdeep Sekhon and Soraya Deen in the 2017 graduating class.
The Sikh Coalition is grateful to its government and nonprofit partners for speaking at the training – Harpreet Singh Mokha, U.S. Department of Justice; Alice Yao, U.S. Department of Education; Nisha Ramachandran, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA); Michael Lieberman, Anti-Defamation League; Lakshmi Sridaran, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT); Tea Sefer, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN); and Sakira Cook, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
We give special thanks to Amandeep Singh Sidhu and the law firm McDermott Will & Emery for hosting the Sikh Advocate Academy, as well as the Security & Rights Collaborative, a Proteus Fund initiative, and individual Sikh Coalition donors, whose financial support makes the Sikh Advocate Academy a reality.