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Dear Supporter,

I'm sure you've noticed my last name is not Kaur. And Ava is not a typical Sikh name. I’m actually a proud Parsi (Zoroastrian), born and raised in Pakistan. I came to California in 2006 to start my undergraduate work at UC San Diego.

I am sure you’re wondering: Why would a Zoroastrian work for a Sikh civil rights organization?

The answer is simple: The staff is inspirational and the work here helps everyone, not just Sikhs. You should know that you are supporting an organization that is both impactful and inspiring to Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike.

Let me explain a bit more. Bear with me. My journey with the Sikh Coalition has been a bit winding but it ends up very happy.

I came to the Sikh Coalition after college as a part of the Americorps Vista program. It’s a U.S. government program that allows people to volunteer at a non-profit for a year. The government pays the Americorps a stipend so that they can work at non-profits like the Sikh Coalition.

The Sikh Coalition staff was my first real introduction to the Sikh community. The staff is smart, supremely dedicated, and just a good group of people to be around. I was learning every day and making a difference. I came to deeply appreciate how they embody Sikh values of warmth, openness, and justice. I was happy and fulfilled being here.

My year of service through the Americorps program ended in July 2012. I remember the tears on my last day. The Sikh Coalition did not have the funds to retain me as a staff member and so I took a full-time job at another non-profit.

How much did I love and miss the Sikh Coalition? When the tragedy in Oak Creek happened, I came back as a volunteer even though I was working. I’ll never forget staying up well past midnight with the staff in the week after the tragedy as they poured their hearts into the response. Yes, I was tired from my day job, but my night “job” during the week after the tragedy was very fulfilling.

And then, I finally got the call I had been waiting for! In July of this year, the Sikh Coalition informed me that they were now able to hire me full-time. Without hesitation, I quit my job the next day. There’s nothing like working at a place where you know you’re making a difference.

I think that if all Americans understood the Sikh way of life as I’ve come to appreciate it, they would be thrilled to have Sikhs as their neighbors, their colleagues, their friends and their children’s friends. There is so much more work to be done on this front and I’m thrilled to be part of a team that is working tirelessly to make this a reality.

The work that the Sikh Coalition does is so vital not just for the Sikh community but for all of us - the idea of sarbat dha bhalla (something that I have been learning about).

Yet this work cannot continue without your support. Please consider making a donation today to ensure that your rights, plus the rights of our fellow Americans, are protected.

Chardi Kala!

Ava Master
Development Manager
The Sikh Coalition

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