New Leadership at the Sikh Coalition
This month, we bade farewell to Anisha Singh, who joined the Sikh Coalition in May 2022 as our Executive Director. Anisha’s relationship with the Sikh Coalition began when she volunteered with the Sikh Coalition in the months following 9/11. As Executive Director, she oversaw the addition of new funding streams, the expansion of staff, the addition of Sikhi to five new states’ social studies standards, the launch of the largest academic survey of Sikh students on bullying and school climate, the passing of key legislation around hate crimes, workplace discrimination, and inclusive education, and much more. We are grateful to her leadership and continued fight for civil rights.
Following Anisha’s departure, on January 22, the Sikh Coalition also formally announced our two Co-Interim Executive Directors, Policy and Education Director Harman Singh and Programs Director Graham F. West. Singh and West will collaborate to manage the day-to-day core programmatic work and implementation of the Sikh Coalition’s strategic plan as the Board of Directors conducts their search for the next Executive Director. We look forward to sharing more updates in the months ahead.
The Sikh Coalition Team is Growing!
In just the last few months, the Sikh Coalition has hired five new full time staff members. Senior Education Manager Savleen Singh joined the team in September, as did Senior Policy Manager Puneet Kaur Sandhu in November. Additionally, our new Media and Communications Director Abby Kelly Gualdoni, Senior Staff Attorney Sahel Kaur Sra, and Senior State Policy Manager Harmeet Kaur Kamboj started with the organization this month. We are excited for this latest wave of passionate leaders joining our growing team and look forward to continuing to serve the sangat in this new year.
Continued Fight Against Transnational Repression
This month, the Sikh Coalition continued to meet with Congressional Offices and submitted written testimony for the record for the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Hearing on transnational repression to ensure targeting of the Sikh community was raised in Congress.
We also continued to further awareness and education around this critical issue within the broader civil rights ecosystem by working with Asian Americans / Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy to provide a briefing on ‘Protecting Sikh Communities from Hate and Transnational Repression’ and by publishing an op-ed in Baaz. We continue to believe that everyone has the fundamental right to advocate for their beliefs, and no one should be targeted on the basis of their identity. To see more about our work on transnational repression, click here; we look forward to providing further updates as events develop.
Our Work with the Sangat
Our Community Development Team started off the year by engaging with sangat in person in Georgia and Connecticut. On January 6, our team hosted a community meeting in Atlanta, GA, to better understand local sangat issues and priorities. This meeting was attended by representatives of all Atlanta area gurdwaras and two local seva groups. The following day, Sikh Coalition staff members visited all four gurdwaras in the Greater Atlanta area to discuss ongoing Sikh Coalition projects and how sangat members can get involved.
Then, on January 20, our team members facilitated a Sikh Presenters Training in New Haven, CT, for around 25 sangat members on how they can deliver Sikh awareness presentations in their communities. This training was hosted by local sangat members and Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut (APAC). On January 21, staff members connected with sangat members at Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Foundation in Norwalk and Gurdwara Nanak Darbar in Southington.
We are grateful for the opportunity to connect with Sikh sangats across the country and look forward to meeting more sangats soon!
The Sikh Coalition Attends NASMDA
The Sikh Coalition was honored to attend the annual North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association (NASMDA) conference from January 12 to 14 in San Francisco, California. In our ongoing commitment to PPE initiatives (including longtime collaboration with NASMDA), we had insightful conversations with dedicated medical professionals to delve into their hospital experiences. We were grateful to connect with inspiring leaders in both the medical and tech domains, strengthening our collaborative efforts.
First Instagram Live of the Year with Big Brother Winner!
On January 16, the Sikh Coalition hosted our first Sikh Coalition Live with none other than Big Brother 25 winner Jagateshwar Bains! Jag Bains was not only the show’s first Sikh contestant, but on November 9, 2023 he was crowned the first Sikh American winner of any major U.S. reality TV show. Jag is 25-years-old and is an entrepreneur from Omak, Washington; his mother immigrated to the US in 1993 and his dad immigrated in 1987 from Punjab. Former Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy, Sim J. Singh Attariwala joined Jag in conversation to talk about how we can better amplify Sikh voices, like Jag’s, in mainstream media and the importance of doing so.
We are currently hiring for a Senior Federal Policy Manager to continue growing our presence and impact in Washington, DC; applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, so please apply today or share widely with your networks!
January 25 was also Sim J. Singh Attariwala’s last day as the Sikh Coalition’s Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy. Sim joined the Sikh Coalition almost seven years ago and is moving onwards to an exciting opportunity in the federal government, which we will be excited to amplify soon. The Sikh Coalition is deeply grateful to Sim for his years of service to the organization and the nationwide sangat, and we look forward to further collaborations in his new role as well as his continued success.