October 17, 2023 (New York, NY) — In light of recent events at home—from the devastating hate-motivated murder of a young Palestinian American boy in Illinois to an assault of a Sikh teen in New York City being investigated as a hate crime—and abroad, the Sikh Coalition urges caution and vigilance for all sangat members in the days ahead. 

Unfortunately, our community knows all too well how major geopolitical events, as well as accompanying inflammatory political rhetoric, can bring further harm to already marginalized communities. In times like these, we choose to share resources not to stoke fear but to better prepare our sangat for the possibility of bigotry and backlash. Accordingly, please find below more information on how individuals, families, gurdwaras, and communities can better prevent and respond to hate violence.

Report Hate Incidents: If you or someone you know has experienced or been threatened with hate violence, bias-based property damage, or hateful vandalism, immediately seek safety and medical attention if necessary and then call law enforcement (911) as soon as possible to report the incident. Note that law enforcement should not ask you about your immigration status; in the event that they do, you have the right to not answer this question. Please contact the Sikh Coalition at 212-655-3095 or fill out our reporting form immediately after the incident; our legal team will respond for either a consultation (in English or Punjabi) or with a referral as soon as possible. Please understand that while we can only accept a select number of cases due to capacity constraints, every intake will receive a response. 

Know Your Rights: It is critical for all sangat members to be aware of their surroundings and know their rights. Download our FAQ guide on hate crimes and hate speech, and display our hate crime poster at your gurdwara in both English and Punjabi. To receive free copies of these or other available resources, please email us at community@sikhcoalition.org or fill out this form on our website.

Transnational Repression: It is illegal for foreign governments to stalk, intimidate, or assault people in the United States; it is also illegal for foreign governments to target naturalized or U.S.-born citizens who have family overseas or other foreign connections. This behavior, referred to as “transnational repression,” has resulted in successful prosecutions by the U.S. government. If you are concerned for your safety, sangat members who feel comfortable doing so should immediately contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) at tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Note that the FBI has more information available in Punjabi.

Share Gurdwara Security Toolkit: Consider sharing our Gurdwara Security Toolkit with your gurdwara. Since 2017, more than 100 different gurdwaras have worked with the Sikh Coalition to take proactive steps to make their gurdwaras safer. Ask your gurdwara if they have already participated; if they haven’t, have a gurdwara committee member email us at community@sikhcoalition.org for a free consultation. You can learn more about our recent advocacy and community work on behalf of gurdwara security here.

Share This Information With Your Family and Friends: Finally, please forward this email to your immediate family and friends. Encourage them to sign up for the Sikh Coalition’s email alerts so that they can continue to receive related updates on resources and information—like our analysis of the FBI’s most recent hate crime data, which was published yesterday. Then, take the next easy step and post this information to your social media accounts. It is critical that we disseminate this information to every sangat member so that if a hate crime or bias-motivated incident happens, they know we are here to provide free and confidential legal resources.

As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.