April 4, 2023 (Sacramento, CA) – The Sikh Coalition is proud to support SB403, introduced by State Senator Aisha Wahab, which seeks to outlaw caste discrimination in California. This bill will reaffirm California’s commitment as a state that does not condone prejudicial treatment, bias or discrimination and will set an appropriate (and long-overdue) precedent for the whole nation.
Caste is a system of social stratification where each position is characterized by hereditary status, endogamy, and social exclusion. It impacts over 1.9 billion people in South Asia and 5.7 million South Asian Americans. While caste discrimination is rampant in South Asia it also exists here in the United States. Data from Equality Labs shows 1 in 4 caste-oppressed people have faced physical and verbal violence, 1 in 3 have faced education discrimination, and 2 out of 3 are impacted by workplace discrimination.
In California, caste discrimination occurs across industries, including technology, education, construction, restaurants, domestic work, and medicine. Caste discrimination against Dalits – people formerly called “untouchables” by dominant castes – includes bullying, harassment, bias, wage theft, sexual harassment, housing discrimination, and even trafficking.
The Sikh community knows firsthand the pain and trauma that comes with being repeatedly targeted by hate and discrimination and the Sikh faith explicitly condemns caste based discrimination – therefore, we must come together to support this legislation!
TO HELP BAN CASTE DISCRIMINATION, WE NEED YOU TO TAKE ACTION NOW:
2) Please forward this email to your California friends and family, asking for them to take action and share this campaign led by the California Coalition for Caste Equity on social media, text, and WhatsApp.
Today, hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in the United States call California home and remain committed to Sikhism’s values of justice and equality. Caste related hate and discrimination is common in workplaces, housing, universities, and throughout the United States. To heal from caste related hate and discrimination, we must first ban it.
Graphic by Tanuja Gupta