Fateh! Afghan Family Asylum Update 

In August 2022, the Sikh Coalition was proud to join partners around the world in facilitating the safe arrival of a multigenerational Afghan Sikh family in New York through the United States Significant Public Benefit Parole Program. We are pleased to announce that after more than a year and a half of collaborative efforts between the Sikh Coalition and Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law, all 13 members of this family have been granted asylum in the United States. Learn more about this victory here

Progress in Fight Against Book Ban Legislation 

The Sikh Coalition continues to support legislation against book bans across the United States. This month, we supported the New Jersey Freedom to Read Act (A3446) by assisting Ms. Ardman Singh, President of the Franklin Township Board of Education, in placing an opinion piece with NJ.com and facilitating the testimony of Sikh high school student Rajinder Singh before the NJ Assembly Education Committee. On June 28, the bill was passed by the Assembly.

We also celebrated Colorado’s SB 216, which prohibits book bans across the state, being signed into law, having previously supported that bill with in-person testimony from Senior Education Manager Savleen Singh.

Opposing Restrictive Asylum Measures 

Earlier this month, the Sikh Coalition joined organizations throughout the civil rights ecosystem in condemning severe new asylum restrictions announced by the Biden Administration. These restrictions will make it significantly difficult for vulnerable people—including Sikhs—to claim asylum at our southern border. To elevate our perspective on this issue, informed by years of work on behalf of Sikh migrants and asylum seekers, we sent a letter to the White House Domestic Policy Council and submitted public comments to both the federal register and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

GOTV Partnerships Ahead of Election Season 

Earlier this month, the Sikh Coalition announced our collaboration with Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC to provide Punjabi language assistance to their voter hotline ahead of the 2024 election. The Sikh Coalition, through our GOTV Fellows and recruited volunteers, will answer any questions or messages in Punjabi via voicemails or live engagement on the hotline through this fall. We look forward to sharing more information about our GOTV Fellows program and associated work soon! 

Continued Work on Transnational Repression

The Sikh Coalition continues to engage on the threat of transnational repression. On June 24, we were proud to provide both written and spoken public comment in favor of the Department of Homeland Security’s Faith-Based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC) Subcommittee on Transnational Repression’s new report. Back in March, the Sikh Coalition was the first non-governmental organization to brief the FBSAC Subcommittee on the issue of transnational repression; we were glad to see many of our recommendations included in the final report. Read more about our other work on this issue via a message from our Executive Director, Harman Singh, posted to our blog on June 18.

Representing the Sikh Coalition Across the Country

This month, Sikh Coalition staff attended numerous convenings across the country:

  • On June 6, Community Development Manager Yashpreet Singh Matharu presented our “Who Are The Sikhs” presentation to Drift Net, a school and campus security organization that sells camera software. Drift Net is working with the Sikh Coalition to help gurdwaras receive Nonprofit Security Grant Program funding.
  • On June 18, Senior State Policy Manager Harmeet Kaur Kamboj testified and spoke at a press conference in support of New York City Resolution 0095, which will support religious diversity via curricula and teacher trainings in NYC public schools.
  • On June 21, Community Development Manager Yashpreet Singh Matharu presented at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis gurdwara where campers got to learn about elevator pitches and public speaking.
  • Beginning on June 24, Executive Director Harman Singh attended the 2024 Aspen Ideas Festival as a 2024 Fellow.
  • On June 25 and June 26, Senior Staff Attorney Sahel Kaur attended multiple policy discussions in Washington, DC, on gun violence prevention, including a Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Gun Violence Prevention Roundtable hosted by the White House.
  • On June 26, Senior Education Manager Upneet Kaur presented at The Asian American Studies Academy, in collaboration with Asian Texans for Justice. She presented “Teaching the Sikh American Experience” to 30 K-12 educators across Texas. 

Remembering 1984 

June 1 marked the 40th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, which—along with the Sikh Genocide in November 1984 and the subsequent ‘decade of disappearances’ and other atrocities throughout Punjab—marks an inflection point in modern Sikh history. The Sikh Coalition joined Sikhs around the world in reflecting on this anniversary by sharing resources and an advocacy toolkit for sangat members interested in securing state and local commemorative proclamations. As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly, and to remember and honor those who died doing so.