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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
April 25, 2013
  • First Ever American Sikh Congressional Caucus Launched

    April 25, 2013 (Washington, DC) – History was made yesterday as Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and Representative David Valadao (R-CA) announced the launch of the first-ever American Sikh Congressional Caucus.

    Representatives Chu and Valadao are the Co-Chairs of the Caucus.  As of yesterday’s launch, 30 bipartisan Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have already joined the Caucus.

    The purpose of the Caucus is to educate Members of Congress and the general public about Sikh American issues.  It will also allow Members to strategize on how to support the Sikh American community.

    Addressing Sikh community leaders, Members of Congress, and journalists on Capitol Hill yesterday, Congresswoman Chu said, "Today marks the day when Sikh Americans will finally have a unified voice to advocate for them in the United States House of Representatives. This bipartisan caucus, made up of members from California to Virginia, from New Jersey to Arizona, will stand by your side, and fight for you."

    Chu continued, "More than a decade after 9/11, too many Sikhs across America face discrimination, bullying, and even bias-motivated violence from misguided individuals associating them with the terrorist attacks." Citing the American founding principles of religious freedom, acceptance and tolerance, Chu hoped that the newly formed American Sikh Congressional Caucus for Sikh Americans "will finally have a united bipartisan voice in Congress."

    Congressman Valadao noted, "The Central Valley is home to more than 25,000 Sikhs, the largest population in the United States. Just in my district, California's 21st congressional district, there are at least seven Gurdwaras," adding, "I am excited and honored that I will be able to represent the Sikh community in Washington and am looking forward to working with my colleagues to address the unique issues this community faces."

    While Sikhs have contributed greatly to our nation’s prosperity, they do face challenges to the enjoyment of their rights. Although Sikhs have served with distinction in the U.S. Armed Forces in both World Wars, Vietnam and most recently in Afghanistan, Sikhs are not presumptively permitted to join the U.S. Armed Forces because of restrictive appearance regulations.

    Similarly, in the aftermath of September 11th, Sikh Americans have experienced a sharp rise in incidents of bias-motivated violence and bullying. The Associated Press reported that more than 700 such incidents took place in the U.S. over the last decade. Surveys have also found that up to three out of every four Sikh boys in the United States are bullied due to their appearance. The shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last year is a tragic example of why Congress must focus on Sikh American issues.

    The effort to create the Caucus was spearheaded by community members Harpreet Sandhu and Dr. Pritpal Singh from California. Sikh organizations SALDEF, Sikh Coalition and UNITED SIKHS, worked together to increase Congressional support for the Caucus. Sikh Americans and Sikh organizations are hopeful that the Caucus will serve as a platform for better engagement with the United States Congress.

    Current Members of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus are listed below. If you do not see your Member of Congress listed as a member of the Caucus, please email or call us so that we can work with you to secure their participation in the Caucus.

    Current Members of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus as of April 25, 2013

    Rep. Judy Chu
    Rep. Karen Bass
    Rep. Ami Bera
    Rep. Gerry Connolly
    Rep. John Conyers Jr.
    Rep. Jim Costa
    Rep. John Garamendi
    Rep. Raul Grijalva
    Rep. Rush Holt
    Rep. Mike Honda
    Rep. Hank Johnson
    Rep. Zoe Lofgren
    Rep. Carolyn Maloney
    Rep. Doris Matsui
    Rep. Jerry McNerney
    Rep. George Miller
    Rep. Frank Pallone
    Rep. Bill Pascrell
    Rep. Gary Peters
    Rep. Jan Schakowsky
    Rep. Jackie Speier
    Rep. Chris Van Hollen

    Rep. David Valadao
    Rep. Jeff Denham
    Rep. Joe Heck
    Rep. Doug LaMalfa
    Rep. Devin Nunes
    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
    Rep. Tom McClintock
    Rep. Pat Meehan
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