Dear Supporter Ji,
I write to you today with some bittersweet news. As of last week, I have stepped down from my role as Executive Director at the Sikh Coalition to focus on my health and family. While our Board of Directors start their search for our next Executive Director, two of our incredibly talented senior directors—Harman Singh, our Policy and Education Director, and Graham West, our Programs Director—will now serve as Co-Interim Executive Directors. I will continue to support in a consulting capacity throughout the beginning of this year to ensure there is a smooth transition.
Twenty-two years ago, 9/11 was a watershed moment: For our country, our community, and many of us as individuals. I was in high school in South Florida, eager, anxious, and determined to take action. I became a volunteer for the Sikh Coalition in the earliest days of its founding, and the experiences I gained through that seva shaped my entire career trajectory; I later would become a civil rights attorney and a social justice organizer. To have had the opportunity to serve at the helm of the same organization that sparked my passion for this work 22 years later has been the honor of my lifetime.
As you know, the Sikh Coalition team punches above its weight each and every day. In the time I have led the organization, we have accomplished so much. We increased our team’s capacity, with 10 new hires and promotions for many of our long-serving staff, and added new funding streams, including multi-year grants by leading foundations that validate the importance of our work. We added Sikhi to five new states’ social studies standards. We passed key legislation around hate crimes, workplace discrimination, and inclusive education, and worked with sangat members and coalitions across communities to get that work done. We launched the largest-ever academic survey of Sikh students on bullying and school climate. We were cited by the Supreme Court and scored a legal victory against the U.S. government in our military campaign. We got back out to meet the sangat where they are and find out what they need, with visits from Virginia to California and Wisconsin to Georgia. And of course, we’ve had the challenge—and the opportunity—to expand our portfolio to meet the threat of transnational repression.
It is because of the talented, passionate, and hard working team here at the Sikh Coalition that we were able to accomplish this and so much more. And now the team is more than ready to respond to the moment our country faces right now. From an expected rise in hate incidents across the nation—due to a contentious election year at home and geopolitical tensions around the world—to transnational repression threatening our safety, we have our work cut out for us. But there is absolutely no better team more prepared and more empowered to take on this moment.
The Sikh Coalition is a special place like no other, with supporters like you who give your time and your dasvandh to make sure we can continue to do this important work. And this team thrives on that support from the community as well as the confidence in and appreciation for one another. So while I am taking a step back, know that I will forever and always be a part of this movement, driven by the organization’s mission, values, and continued commitment to achieving results for our sangat.
I look forward to crossing paths with you soon as we continue to build a better tomorrow for us all.