FlyRights Downloaded Over 10,000 Times!
Just two weeks after its launch, the Sikh Coalition’s free FlyRights mobile application is making a major impact. To date, FlyRights has been downloaded over 10,000 times and was ranked among the Top 20 Free Travel Apps on Apple’s iTunes and the Top 10 most popular “Travel and Local” apps in the Android market. In addition, the app has been featured in hundreds of media outlets worldwide and continues to receive press coverage. Significantly, over 25 individuals from diverse backgrounds have used the app to file complaints; this already exceeds the total number of TSA complaints recorded by the Department of Homeland Security during the entire first half of 2011. Are you one of the 10,000 people who downloaded FlyRights? If not, please download and use FlyRights for free here.
Click here for a brand new article in the Huffington Post
Click here for an interview on RT television
Click here for an interview on CTV television
California Action Alert: Share Our Petition for Equal Opportunity
The Workplace Religious Freedom Act (AB1964), an equal opportunity bill sponsored by the Sikh Coalition, will be heard by the Appropriations Committee in the California Assembly on May 16 2012. If this bill becomes law, it will sharply reduce job discrimination against Sikhs and other religious minorities in California. If you live in California, please sign an automatic petition to your elected representatives in support of this legislation. In addition, please share the petition with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter using the following link: http://tinyurl.com/7fpz9mq. This bill can only move forward with your support.
Texas Youth Surveys Reveal Widespread Bullying
As part of its ongoing effort to promote bullying awareness and prevention, Sikh Coalition Advocates recently concluded a community survey of 296 Sikh youth throughout Texas. The survey found that 32.4% of respondents have been teased at school because of their religion or ethnicity. By comparison, a recent U.S. Department of Education report suggests that approximately 28% of all students in American schools experience bullying. The Sikh Coalition survey also revealed that 21% of Sikh youth respondents in Texas have experienced hitting or unwanted touching, including pulling of their hair and patkas. The Sikh Coalition looks forward to working with the Texas Sikh community on using these survey results to develop strategies to combat school bullying and promote safer schools for all children.
In recent months, graduates of the Sikh Coalition Advocate Academy and community volunteers have completed school bullying surveys in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Tennessee. These simple, anonymous surveys are important because they focus community attention on a serious issue facing our youth. In addition, the survey results can be shared with government officials and school administrators to promote stronger policies and programs against school bullying. (Click here to watch a video highlighting a success story from Sikh community volunteers in Maryland.)
There are many ways for you to get involved. If you wish to express support for the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a proposed federal anti-bullying law, you can click here to send an automatic letter to your members of Congress. If you wish to partner with the Sikh Coalition on a survey in your community, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sikh Coalition Legal Director Speaks at Stanford Law School
The Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, Harsimran Kaur, spoke at Stanford Law School (SLS) on April 26, 2012. She joined a panel of distinguished women of color attorneys who discussed leadership and the social justice movement. The other panelists included Kimberley Rapp, Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco, Arcelia Hurtado, Deputy Director of National Center on Lesbian Rights, and Titi Liu, Director of International Public Interest Initiatives at Stanford Law School. Excerpts of the discussion will be posted on the SLS John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law’s YouTube site at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL717AE5845C94A0BA.
Sikh Presentation at Elementary School in Edison, New Jersey
Two Sikh Presenter's Course graduates - Achint Kaur and Preeti Kaur - both presented information about Sikhs to the entire school at Woodbrook Elementary, located in Edison, NJ on April 27 2012. As part of the presentation, these presenters showed a kid-friendly video on Sikhs, explained basic Sikhi concepts, and ended with a question and answer session to all 1st - 5th graders. In addition, patkas and turbans were shown to the students, and they even demonstrated how to do pooni! Since New Jersey is a state that includes Sikhism in its Social Studies Content Standards, extensive resource packets were delivered to every teacher so that they could then do an extension lesson in the classroom after the presentation. Roughly 700 students were educated on Sikhs, and now have a better understanding of our beliefs and why we wear a dastaar at this New Jersey elementary school
Sikh Coalition Attends SAALT ACE Training
During the weekend of April 27-29, 2012, Tejpreet Kaur, Community Organizer at the Sikh Coalition, and Pavita Singh, Sikh Coalition Volunteer and former summer intern, were privileged to attend a workshop series entitled "The Advocates for Community Empowerment Project." Put together by the Washington DC-based non-profit organization, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), the workshop brought together seven community-based organizations from across the country who work to empower the South Asian community in the United States. The focus of the workshop was social change and gender justice. Over the course of three days, participants engaged in activities designed to strengthen their advocacy and communication skills in order to better serve their constituents. SAALT's hard work and leadership provided a space in which the different organizations could learn more about one another's work and collaborate to realize our shared mission of improving the lives of America's South Asians.
Sikh Coalition Youth Attend Education Advocates Summit
On April 28, 2012, the Sikh Youth of New York (SYNY) and a Sikh Coalition staff member were invited to attend the second National Asian American Education Advocates’ (NAAEA) Summit. The summit was hosted by the Asian Ameican Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and brought together Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) education activists and youth rights advocates from across the United States.
The Sikh youth attended panel discussions that addressed issues of educational inequality and youth rights and were offered organizing strategies and advocacy campaigns by community advocates. The youth also had the opportunity to be part of an anti-bullying and harassment discussion, where they not only shared their own experiences but also highlighted the anti-bullying work they’re currently involved in. The youth were the only Sikhs in attendance and interacted and mingled with the other AAPI youth.
Sikh Coalition Attends Two Conferences in California
Sikh Coalition staff and volunteers presented at two conferences in Sacramento, California this month. At the ACLU of Northern California's 2012 Conference and Lobby Day, staff joined the ACLU of Southern California and the Council on American-Islamic Relations on a panel discussing the status of civil liberties today in the national, state and local contexts. The discussion focused on the impact of civil liberties violations on members of the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian communities and how community members and allies can support ongoing efforts to rebuild our civil liberties protections. At the API Policy Summit, a conference focused on legislative advocacy for Asian American leaders, students and community-based organizations, the Sikh Coalition offered a workshop on Grassroots Anti-Bullying Advocacy. The workshop focused on best practices with respect to collection of school bullying data, the means by which bullying surveys can empower parents and students with knowledge and self-confidence and the use of survey data as a basis for making concrete policy recommendations to school officials and other government officials.
Sikh Coalition Addresses Sangat at Seattle Nagar Kirtan
Prabhjot Singh, co-founder and board member of the Sikh Coalition, addressed nearly 10,000 sangat members at a Nagar Kirtan in Seattle on May 6 2012. He congratulated the sangat on Vaisakhi and thanked the sangat for their generous support for the Coalition's work since its inception. Prabhjot shared what it takes to build institutions like the Sikh Coalition and highlighted the need for us as a community to build many more institutions to both protect and transmit our heritage. Also in attendance at this Nagar Kirtan were elected officials including Ed Prince and Greg Taylor, Council Members from Renton, WA and Suzette Cooke, Mayor of Kent, WA.
Sign Up for the 2nd Annual Houston Bowl-a-thon
On June 9, Texas sangats will participate in the 2nd Annual Houston Bowl-a-thon. Join a team or form your own here before it's too late!. Not in Houston? Support the Coalition by donating to a team of your choice. Click here to check out all the fun that was had at last year's event.
We’re looking forward to the Saanjh East Coast Leadership Retreat during Memorial Day weekend. It’s a great opportunity to meet and network with Sikhs from all over the country and discover new venues to become involved with the community. This year, a Sikh Coalition staff member will be leading a session on Diaspora Activism - taking a deeper look at volunteering and building panthic institutions. Whether it’s spreading the word locally, fundraising or helping with our programmatic work, there are lots of ways to get involved. There will also be plenty of other great sessions like Guru History, and Contemporary Issues as well as lots of fun activities like a talent night! Saanjh is open to anyone above 18 years of age and will be held from May 25 - 28 2012 in the serene setting of the Diamond Ridge Conference Center near New York. If you haven’t registered yet, please do it now because registration closes next week. Go to http://www.saanjh.org/retreat/register and sign up today!
Click here to read a blog post about Saanjh.
In this Issue
Click here to read a blog post about the NYC Sikh Day Parade