Since the end of November 2020, protesters from the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and elsewhere have travelled to the outskirts of Delhi, India to protest three farm laws that will worsen the already harsh ecological and economic conditions in which they live. These farmers, seeking only to demonstrate peacefully and defend their livelihoods, were met first with dismissal–and then with violence and repression–from the Indian government.
This movement directly affects a majority of the global Sikh population, and the Sikh Coalition stands with Sikhs across the United States and around the world in solidarity with these farmers as they continue to advocate for their rights, dignity, and justice. Accordingly, the Sikh Coalition has undertaken several advocacy approaches to raising awareness and spurring action on this issue.
Read the letters we’ve sent to the U.S. elected officials about this issue:
- December 3, 2020 letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- December 3, 2020 letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee
- December 3, 2020 letter to the members of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus
- January 21, 2021 letter to President Biden
- January 27, 2021 follow-up letter to President Biden
- March 4, 2021 follow-up letter to U.S. Department of State
Read the letters that U.S. elected officials have sent as a result of our and other Sikh organizations’ direct outreach efforts:
- December 4, 2020 letter from Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- December 11, 2020 letter from Senator Robert Menendez to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- December 23, 2020 letter from Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and Congressman David Trone (D-MD) to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
- December 24, 2020 speech from Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI) on the floor of the House of Representatives (The Sikh Coalition applauds Seva4Everybody‘s work on this strong speech)
- January 15, 2021 letter from Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- February 18, 2021 letter from Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY)
- February 23, 2021 letter from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- March 5, 2021 letter from Congressman Josh Harder (D-CA) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- March 17, 2021 letter from Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin
- March 18, 2021 letter from Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to Secretary of State Antony Blinken
It also remains equally critical that this movement is covered by U.S. and international media without bias, and the Sikh Coalition is supporting efforts to amplify the protests through our media engagement work. Watch Executive Director Satjeet Kaur discuss the farmers’ protest with NowThis News on December 18, 2020:
You can watch Satjeet interview on JUS Punjabi’s Ajj Da Mudda on December 16, 2020 and listen to her conversation with The Takeaway on February 4, 2021. Additionally, we were proud to work with NBC Asian America and The Guardian on their pieces about the farmers’ protest vis-a-vis Sikh Americans; we also helped Sikh Coalition co-founder Dr. Jasmit Singh place an opinion piece in the Seattle Times, and Dr. Supreet Kaur do the same in NBC THINK.
The Sikh Coalition has led media engagement in support of a number of solidarity rallies here in the United States. Rallies where our work resulted in media coverage include:
- The California Kisaan Solidarity Car and Truck Rally (organized by the Jakara Movement and other California organizers) on December 5, 2020, which was covered by KQED, ABC 7 Bay Area, CBS San Francisco, San Francisco Examiner, Sacramento Bee, Mercury News, Fresno Bee, Religion News Service, Press Trust of India, India West, and other outlets.
- The Seattle Kisaan Ekta Car Rally/March (organized by the Seattle sangat) on December 26, 2020, which was covered by CBS KIRO 7, NBC KING 5, and the Kent Reporter.
- The “Save Our Farmers” Oklahoma City Kisaan Rally (organized by the Oklahoma City sangat) on January 9, 2021, which was covered by KFOR, the local NBC affiliate.
By our count, Sikh Americans have held such rallies in at least 17 states and Washington, DC since December 2020.
For additional reading about the farmers’ protest, we encourage you to review the following opinion pieces:
- Unprecedented Farmers Protests in India: Lest We Miss This Feminist Moment, by Mallika Kaur for Ms. Magazine
- Indian farmers are right to be outraged, by Simran Jeet Singh and Dr. Gunisha Kaur for CNN
- History shows Punjab has always taken on tyrants. Modi is no different. by Rupi Kaur for the Washington Post
- In a traditional Lohri song about a folk hero, echoes of Punjab’s ongoing struggle for a fair deal, by Mallika Kaur for Scroll.in
- The Farmers’ Protests Are a Turning Point for India’s Democracy—and the World Can No Longer Ignore That, by Simran Jeet Singh for TIME
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.