The Problem

The Sikh American community is geographically dispersed throughout the United States and has historically lacked a cohesive and coordinated network of grassroots activists. Although the Sikh Coalition has developed expertise in policy advocacy, this institutional knowledge needs to be shared with all Sikh Americans in a systematic way so that they can effectively protect their interests at the grassroots level and assume leadership positions in their communities.

The Solution

In 2011, the Sikh Coalition launched the Sikh Advocate Academy, a rigorous advocacy training program in Washington, DC focused on building the capacity of grassroots volunteers to engage with government officials, media outlets, and community groups in the cause of promoting civil rights. In exchange for this training, participants are required to pursue volunteer projects in support of the Sikh Coalition’s civil rights mission in their local communities.

  • To date, trained Sikh Academy Advocates
  • Over Op-Ed placements
  • Led or engaged in + Actions & initiatives

Impact

Since the inception of the Sikh Advocate Academy, 55 graduates have authored over two dozen op-eds on civil rights issues; appeared on television and radio programs; collected hundreds of petitions in support of the Sikh Coalition’s Army Campaign; and secured endorsements for civil rights legislation from their elected representatives in the U.S. Congress. Graduates of the Sikh Advocacy Academy have even joined the Sikh Coalition as full-time staff.

"After attending the Sikh Advocate Academy, I have finally gained the proper tools to keep up the Sikh tradition of fighting against injustice. The week-long training has equipped me with skills that I can utilize any day to achieve social justice and mobilize communities to act on human rights issues."

Sehaj Kaur, Sikh Coalition Volunteer Advocate