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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
July 13, 2013
  • Petition to Accept Sikhs in the U.S Military

    This week, the Sikh Coalition launched an official campaign to end the presumptive ban on Sikh service in the United States Armed Forces. We are asking President Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to allow all Sikhs an equal opportunity to serve in the military.

    This past week, one of the Sikh Coalition's clients, Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, was featured in the New York Times and interviewed on a NPR radio show, The Takeaway. Major Kalsi talked about his fight to serve in the U.S. Army and shared his views on why all Sikhs should be allowed to do the same:

  • Click here to read the New York Times article.
    Click here to listen to the NPR interview.
    Click here to sign the Sikh Coalition's petition.
  • Remembering Oak Creek: What Can I Do?

    Inspired by the Oak Creek sangat’s Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Walk and Run, we call on you to organize a day of seva (community service) in your local community on August 3, 2013. Many sangats have already committed to a day of seva to honor last year’s victims and survivors, won’t you follow their lead?
  • White House Holds Second Briefing on Sikh Civil Rights Issues

    On June 25, 2013 in Washington, DC, jakaras were heard in the White House during a briefing on Sikh civil rights issues in the heart of the federal government. This was the second briefing that took place in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and was organized in collaboration with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the White House Office of Public Engagement. Many leaders and groups traveled to Washington DC to attend the briefing, which included Advocates from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 classes of the Sikh Coalition's Sikh Advocate Academy and members from the Junior Sikh Coalition.

  • Click here to read more.
    Click here to view pictures.
  • Sikh Coalition Featured in Video by AAPIP's Civic Engagement Fund

    The Sikh Coalition was recently featured in a video by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy's (AAPIP) Civic Engagement Fund. The video highlights, in particular, the Sikh Coalition's California advocacy work, which promotes grassroots civic participation in the Sikh community. It also encourages policymakers at all levels of government to respect civil and human rights.

  • Click here to watch the video.
  • Meet the New Sikh Coalition Advocates

    For the third year in a row, the Sikh Coalition has successfully graduated a new class of professionally-trained community volunteers through the Sikh Advocate Academy, an intensive advocacy training program in our nation’s capital. Ten new activists will join two dozen alumni from all over the country in amplifying the Sikh voice through government engagement, media engagement, and alliance building.

  • Click here to read more.
  • Click here to view pictures.
    Click here to view the video.
  • Oak Creek Police Department Invites the Sikh Coalition Back for Officer Training

    The Sikh Coalition's Education Director, Manbeena Kaur, returned to Oak Creek, WI last week to train another set of Oak Creek police officers on Sikhs and Sikhism. The officers were given a 90-minute presentation on Sikhs and Sikh practices, tips on how to build partnerships with the Sikh community, and had an opportunity to ask questions about the faith.
  • “Your presentation added a wealth of knowledge on the Sikh faith, and certainly cleared up any misconceptions that may have lingered in any officer’s minds concerning Sikh beliefs and traditions.” said Detective Joel Bateman. The session ended with a turban tying demonstration led by Raghvinder Singh, son of Punjab Singh. The entire training was video recorded so that it can be used in subsequent trainings for the rest of the officers in the department.

    The Sikh Coalition thanks Detective Joel Bateman for organizing the training and Raghvinder Singh for his support.
  • Sikh Coalition Legal Director Speaks about Hate Crime Tracking

    Sikh Coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur recently spoke on two legal panels about hate crime tracking and the Sikh community. The first event, held on June 21, 2013, was part of the National South Asian Bar Association's 2013 annual convention in San Francisco and was entitled "Hate Crimes: Exploring Race and Identity in America." The second panel, sponsored by the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, was titled "Tracking (In)Justice: A Nationwide Dialogue on Hate Crimes." It was held on June 26, 2013 in San Francisco at the Asian Law Caucus. Both panels were accredited for attorneys as Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE).

  • A video recording of the second panel can be viewed here.
  • Sikh Awareness in the Central Valley of California

    Throughout this past year, the Sikh Coalition has been traveling throughout California’s Central Valley to provide Sikh Awareness presentations. With close to 20 Gurdwaras in the region, the Central Valley is home to a large and diverse Sikh community who have resided in the area for 100 years. However there is still much work to be done to bring awareness about the community and our identity.

  • Click here to read more.
  • Sikh Coalition Presents on Community Responses to Hate Violence at Hofstra University

    On June 22, 2013, Sikh Coalition Staff Attorney, Gurjot Kaur, participated in an interfaith event, "Faith Against Hate: A Day of Learning, " at Hofstra University. The event was sponsored by the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, the Islamic Center of Long Island, and the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center. Ms. Kaur led a workshop on "Effective Community Responses to Hate Violence," and spoke about the Sikh Coalition's commitment to faith-based principles of restorative justice. Ms. Kaur engaged in a brief discussion on Sikh history and shared the story of Baba Ghaniya Ji, a Sikh soldier under Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who did not discriminate between soldier and foe and served water to all those who were injured on the battlefield.

    Ms. Kaur explained how Baba Ghaniya Ji's deep message is integral to how we as a community respond to hate violence today and perpetuate the Sikh principles of forgiveness, love, equality and Chardi Kala, or eternal optimism. Ms. Kaur shared the stories of Sikh hate crime victims who sought to successfully educate and redeem their attackers through community service and dialogue (restorative justice). Through our faith-based principles, we can and have changed minds and hearts; we can also effectively combat hate based discrimination and violence against our communities. Ms. Kaur also discussed the importance of engaging with the media, building partnerships with government, the grassroots community, and the interfaith community.
  • Sikh Coalition Participates in Congressional Briefing

    On Thursday, June 27, 2013, the Sikh Coalition’s Director of Law, Rajdeep Singh, and Policy participated in a briefing for Congressional staff and several members of Congress to discuss the need to enact legislation that meaningfully prohibits profiling based on race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin. Specifically, the Sikh Coalition underscored the importance of passing the End Racial Profiling Act and pointed out that a profiling provision in the Senate’s immigration reform bill is inadequate to prevent profiling. The briefing was organized by the Congressional Black Caucus Immigration Taskforce and included representatives from Muslim Advocates, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the NAACP. The Sikh Coalition is grateful to its allies in Congress and the civil rights community for inviting us to the briefing.
  • Scholarship Opportunity for Sikh Students

    The 5Rivers Foundation is currently accepting applications for its Scholarship Program. The 5Rivers Scholarship Program provides financial support to Sikh students who are motivated to pursue higher education opportunities, but lack the financial resources to get there. The scholarship is for college bound students and for SAT prep courses.

    With generous support from 5Rivers Foundation, the Sikh coalition offered SAT classes to 25 Sikh youth in Queens, New York to prepare students for their SAT exam.

    Please visit www.5Riversfoundation.org for more information. If you live in Queens, New York and would like to participate in SAT preparation courses, please contact Tejpreet Kaur at tejpreet@sikhcoalition.org.

    The Sikh Coalition is eternally grateful to the support 5Rivers has provided to further our work and other community initiatives.
  • Sikh Coalition Featured in Oklahoma NPR Program

    The Sikh Coalition’s Director of Law and Policy, Rajdeep Singh, spoke about the work of the Sikh Coalition on World Views, a production of KGOU Radio, an NPR affiliate in Norman, Oklahoma. The nearly 15-minute discussion addressed the formation of the Sikh Coalition, the importance of interfaith coalition building, and contemporary civil rights issues in the United States.
  • To listen to the program, click here.
  • Sikh Coalition Legal Director Co-Presents Webinar on CA's New Religious Discrimination Law

    In 2012, the Sikh Coalition made history when AB1964 was enacted in California. This state law provides the strongest workplace discrimination protections against religious minorities in the country. But there is still work to do.

  • In the long term, we will be working with state and community partners to implement regulations that further carry out the intent of the law. In the short term, we are working to educate the public about their new rights under the law. The Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, Harsimran Kaur, co-presented a webinar this week with the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) about the new law and religious discrimination in the workplace. Both MCLE & HRCI credit was available for qualified participants.

  • Click here to view slides from the webinar.
  • Submissions for Nirbhau Nirvair Open

    The Junior Sikh Coalition (JSC) has opened up submissions for the Nirbhau Nirvair Poetry and Art Book. Nirbhau Nirvair is an advocacy campaign, led by the Junior Sikh Coalition, to fight hatred and bullying in schools and communities across the nation by spreading the values of Nirbhau (living without fear) and Nirvair (living without hatred). The campaign focuses on anti-bullying efforts by raising awareness on how bullying affects our community and by advocating for legislative changes. The Nirbhau Nirvair Poetry and Art Book is one piece of this multi-faceted campaign. The JSC invites youth between the ages of 5 and 25 to create poetry, paintings, drawings, or photography and submit it to the Art Book. Winners will have their submissions published in a coffee table book, which will be made available in print and online. Deadline for submissions is August 4, 2013.
  • Click here to learn more.
  • Sikh Coalition Advocate and Intern Featured on Huffington Post Live

    Sikh Coalition advocacy intern and 2012 graduate of the Sikh Advocate Academy, Harleen Kaur, was featured on a Huffington Post Live discussion two weeks ago. The topic of discussion was Religion and Youth: why so many young Americans today are moving away from religious affiliation and what religious leaders and communities can do to reverse the trend. Harleen Kaur was joined by Reverend Paul Raushenbush, HuffPost Senior Religion Editor; Rabbi Dan Ain, Director of Tradition and Innovation at 92Y; Chris Stedman, Assistant Harvard Humanist Chaplain and; Qasim Rashid, Author of "The Wrong Kind of Muslim."

  • To watch the video click here.
  • Junior Sikh Coalition Launches Campaign for Camp Chardi Kala

    The Junior Sikh Coalition (JSC) launched the Camp Chardi Kala Donor Drive to help send 20 JSC members to Camp Chardi Kala (CCK) this August. Attendance at CCK is an integral part of the JSC’s year-long leadership program, and gives youth essential background on Sikh values. Their goal is to raise $7,000 in order to send youth members who cannot afford the registration and transport fees themselves.

  • Click here to learn more or to make a donation in support of Sikh youth.
  • Sikh Coalition invited to San Jose Jazz Summer Fest

    The Sikh Coalition was recently invited to join other civil rights organizations at this year's San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. The festival is powered by San Jose Jazz, a region-wide, 25 year-old non-profit organization that enriches the local community through education and performance. This year's festival will take place August 9-11th. The Sikh Coalition will participate on Sunday, August 11th to provide information and awareness about our work. For more information, please visit jazzfest.sanjosejazz.org.
  • Job Posting: Join the Sikh Coalition Team

    The Sikh Coalition is looking for individuals with a passion for social justice and youth leadership development to become our next Community Development Manager. The ideal candidate will strongly relate to members of the Sikh community,
    have an outgoing personality,  be achievement oriented, gain the trust of community elders and adults and be able to effectively engage various city and state government officials, all with the aim of ultimately empowering the Sikh community to be advocates for their rights.

    If you are interested in applying please look at the full job description and send your cover letter and resume to jobs@sikhcoalition.org.
  • Sikh Coalition Now Accepting Fall 2013 Internship Applications

    Are you a college student, recent college graduate or a law student who is looking for a dynamic internship experience in promoting civil and human rights? If so, be sure to apply for upcoming internships at the Sikh Coalition!

    The Sikh Coalition is looking for passionate individuals dedicated to protecting and advocating the civil and human rights of all individuals. We are offering part- time internships in New York City. Through participating in the Sikh Coalition’s groundbreaking work, interns gain valuable hands-on work experience while creating noticeable change in their communities.

    The deadline to apply is September 1, 2013. Please email your resume, cover letter, and a writing sample to internships@sikhcoalition.org. For legal internships please email legal@sikhcoalition.org.

    For further details click here.

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