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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
November 9, 2013
  • Major Kalsi Recognized at Congressional Diwali Celebration

    On October 29, 2013, Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal—and one of only three Sikhs to be granted waivers to serve in the U.S. Army with their articles of faith intact—was publicly recognized for his military service by Congressman Joseph Crowley at a Diwali event on Capitol Hill. The event was attended by dozens of Congressional staffers and members of Congress. Earlier in the day, Major Kalsi also met with several Congressional offices to build support for the right of all Sikhs to serve in the U.S. military. The Sikh Coalition is inspired by Major Kalsi’s example and encourages you to sign and share our petition to President Obama in support of equal opportunity for all Sikh Americans who wish to serve in the U.S. military.

    Click here for video of Maj. Kalsi on Capitol Hill

  • Click here for photos of Maj. Kalsi on Capitol Hill

    “I’m from rural Alabama and had never met a Sikh before meeting Kamal. I came to really love and respect the guy.” Captain Ryan Hepworth.
    Click here to read more from the Newsweek Daily Beast article

    Click here to sign a petition to President Obama
  • Sikh Coalition Attends White House Diwali Celebration with First Lady

    On Tuesday November 5, the White House celebrated Diwali and Bandi Chor Diwas for a fifth year in a row. The Sikh Coalition joined community members and organizations for an afternoon reception which was held in the Blue Room and attended by the First Lady.

    First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the gathering and used the opportunity to remember last year's Oak Creek tragedy and the continued resilience of the Sikh community. "As we gather here this Diwali, we remember that there is still evil in the world. And I'm thinking today about what happened in Oak Creek, Wisconsin just last year when an act of unthinkable violence shook a community to its core. But I am also thinking of how in the face of such evil, we also witnessed the power of goodness and forgiveness. The families and community leaders I met when I visited Oak Creek just weeks after the tragedy, they showed us such courage and grace. Instead of giving in to bitterness or despair, they honored those they lost through service. They honored those they lost through educating others about their faith and standing up to prejudice in whatever form it takes. I’m also thinking of all the people across America and around the world who held prayer vigils during that time and sent messages of love and support, and held the people of Oak Creek in their hearts."

    Click here for pictures
    Click here for video of First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks
  • California Designates November 2013 as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month

    The California State Legislature has declared November 2013 as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month. The Sikh Coalition, in collaboration with the California Sikh community, is encouraging sangats across the Golden State to celebrate this month.

    Click here for a list of ideas and resources.
  • Junior Sikh Coalition Member on ABC TV

    The Junior Sikh Coalition (JSC) made an appearance on ABC TV’s Viewpoint. Simranpreet Kainth, member of JSC, along with Amardeep Singh, Program Director and Co-Founder of the Sikh Coalition, and Thomas Mariadason, Staff Attorney of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), were guests on the show. They had an opportunity to discuss a report released by AALDEF and the Sikh Coalition documenting bias-based harassment of Asian American students in New York City public schools. The report revealed that the city’s 2008 bias-based harassment measure, Chancellor’s Regulation A-832, has not yet substantially diminished harassment faced by Asian American students in city public schools. Simranpreet was able to relate the report to his personal experiences and current bullying issues present in NYC schools. We commend  Simranpreet for sharing his experiences on ABC TV.
  • Sikh Coalition Testifies at Assembly Select Committee on Human Rights, Diversity & Race Relations

    The Sikh Coalition was invited to speak to the Assembly Select Committee on Human Rights, Diversity & Race Relations in Los Angeles, CA. Advocacy Manager, Simran Kaur, provided testimony about civil rights issues affecting the Sikh American community including hate crimes, school bullying, workplace discrimination and racial and religious profiling. Panelists at the hearing represented organizations including the California Department of Justice, the Los Angeles Urban League, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Equality California. Committee Chair, Assembly Member Isadore Hall, Compton Mayor Aja Brown and Assembly Member Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer were present at the hearing.
  • Education Director Speaks at World Religions Panel in Texas

    The Sikh Coalition's Education Director, Manbeena Kaur, was invited to a World Religions Panel for social studies educators at the Education Service Center in Kilgore, Texas. Panelists represented Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism and were asked to give a brief history of their faith, the basic beliefs, religious writings, important people and holidays. Sikhism has been added to the Social Studies state standards in Texas, but new social studies textbooks will not be available for these educators until 2015. For this reason, teachers are eager to get more information about Sikhism and how to deliver a lesson on Sikhs for their students. The Sikh Coalition would like to thank Cheri Hood, the Social Studies Specialist from Region 7, for organizing the event and including Sikhism on the panel.

    "I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on world religions. I was very excited to hear about Sikhism as I have never understood it or found much information. The speaker was phenomenal. Manbeena was very informative. I will use the information she gave us in my Geography classes," said Margaret Anzaldua, World Geography teacher, Garrison High School.
  • Sikh Coalition Receives Community Award From Wells Fargo Foundation

    The Sikh Coalition is a recipient of the 2013 ACBA Community Non-Profit Award provided on behalf of Wells Fargo Foundation and the Asian Connection Bay Area. The award was presented to two non-profit organizations in the Greater East Bay of Northern California. We are incredibly grateful to Raminder Somal, a Wells Fargo employee and community supporter, for nominating us for this award.
  • The Junior Sikh Coalition attends White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders Community Forum

    Members of the Junior Sikh Coalition attended the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Community Forum in New York City. Federal officials, faith-based and community leaders gathered to share key Administration policies on issues facing the AAPI community, such as economic growth, immigration, education, and civil rights. The focus of the WHIAAPI Community Forum was to establish a space where faith-based and community leaders could meaningfully engage and interact with federal officials; identify policy and programmatic areas of concern, receive feedback, and share local success stories and practices that benefit the AAPI community and share opportunities for leaders to collaborate with the Obama administration.
  • Sikh Coalition Partners with 3rd i South Asian Film Festival

    For a second year in a row, we are pleased to partner with 3rd i's 11th Annual SF International South Asian Film Festival. The film festival will take place from November 6-10th in San Francisco and November 16th in Palo Alto, CA. From art-house classics to documentary films, and innovative and experimental visions to next-level Bollywood, 3rd i Films promotes diverse images of South Asians through independent film. Sikh Coalition supporters can use the promotional code "SC2013" when making a purchase and receive 20% off tickets. Offer expires at midnight on Nov. 10, 2013. For more information on the films, and to purchase tickets, please visit: http://www.thirdi.org/
  • Hyphen Magazine Launches Roundtable Discussion Following Attack on Prabhjot Singh

    Last month, Hyphen Magazine, a magazine promoting the Asian American experience, published a piece by Advocacy Manager Simran Kaur titled, "Multifaith Reflections on the Attack of Prabhjot Singh: Finding Hope Within Hate." Following this, the magazine launched a roundtable discussion inviting multifaith reflections on the hate crime against Dr. Singh, a Columbia University Professor. Individuals from various faith-based communities have been invited to write about how communities across America can take steps towards mobilizing and determining their futures. Sikh Coalition Advocate, Meeta Kaur, helped to coordinate the discussion and publication of pieces.
  • Sikh Coalition Now Accepting Spring 2014 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 and Fremont, CA. Through participating in the Sikh Coalition’s groundbreaking work, interns gain valuable hands-on work experience while creating noticeable change in their communities.

    Click here for further details.

In this Issue

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