"Sikh Women in Contemporary America" Panel Discussion
On March 29, 2014, the Sikh Coalition hosted a “Sikh Women in Contemporary America” panel discussion at its New York City Office. Inni Kaur, Valarie Kaur and Reshma Singh shared their experiences as Sikh women in their respective professional fields, their inspirations and obstacles as well as engaged in a thoughtful and meaningful discussion with the audience.
for photos from the event.
The panel has had a lasting impression on many of those in attendance including five young girls who wrote down their thoughts, lessons and inspirations.
Read what Ravneet Kaur
, Noor Kaur
, Herveen Kaur
, Tevleen Kaur
and Taveen Kaur
have to say!
American Lawmakers Mark Vaisakhi
As Sikh Americans nationwide celebrate Vaisakhi this month, government officials around the United States are recognizing this joyous occasion.
to see if your city issued a proclamation!
If you want your representative in the U.S. Congress to sponsor the Vaisakhi Resolution, please click here
to send an automatic email to them.
Interfaith Letter to Pentagon Highlights Loopholes
In a show of unity, 21 national faith and interfaith organizations—led by the Sikh Coalition, Anti-Defamation League and American Civil Liberties Union—jointly sent a letter
to the Department of Defense to highlight discriminatory loopholes in the Pentagon’s new religious accommodation guidelines.
According to the letter, sent on April 2, 2014, the new guidelines require service members to violate their religion while accommodation requests are pending and repeatedly apply for temporary waivers. The letter states that these “stifling” requirements “may needlessly limit career opportunities – or, in some cases, end careers.”
The Sikh Coalition is grateful to its coalition partners for standing up for equal opportunity in the U.S. Armed Forces.
to read the letter.
November 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogroms Highlighted at Congressional Hearing
On April 4, 2014, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission – a Congressional panel dedicated to highlighting human rights issues throughout the world – organized a hearing
on the plight of religious minorities in India. Testifying witnesses included Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, Vice Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch; Robin Phillips, Executive Director, Advocates for Human Rights; and John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council, Government of India.
The Sikh Coalition submitted written testimony for the hearing record and included a copy of Ensaaf’s groundbreaking report, entitled Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India
. You can read the Sikh Coalition’s written statement by clicking here
CUNY TV Covers Bullying of Sikh Children
Members of the Junior Sikh Coalition
(JSC) along with Amardeep Singh, Program Director of the Sikh Coalition, discussed the issue of school bullying on CUNY TV's “Asian American Life
” series. JSC youth shared their personal experiences with bullying. Amardeep Singh discussed the failure of NYC schools to report instances of bullying to the Department of Education as mandated and the Sikh Coalition's efforts to combat this issue.
to view the interview.
Sikh Coalition Executive Director Speaks on Interfaith Women's Panel
On March 18, 2014, Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition, spoke on a panel entitled “Women’s Empowerment Program: How Religion and Faith Informs and Guides Women Facing Life Challenges”. Sapreet joined panelists from 7 other faiths who engaged in discussions on women and faith, and the challenges one faces during their life. Thank you to New Jersey sangat member Mini Suri for co-chairing this initiative on behalf of all faith communities.
New Dalip Singh Saund Documentary Now Screening
A new documentary entitled “Dalip Singh Saund: His Life, His Legacy” tells the inspiring story of the first Asian elected as a U.S. Congress Representative who rose above prejudice and racism during one of this nation’s most challenging times.
This 36 minute film is now being screened at universities, libraries, and Gurdwaras. For further information, please contact the film’s producers at DSSaundDoc@gmail.com
, or like our Facebook page
for the latest on events and screenings.
Community Development Fellow Shares School Bullying Report Findings
On March 27, 2014, Harjot Kaur, Community Development Fellow, represented the Sikh Coalition at the Asian American Federation's National Report and Conference on The State of Asian American Children. She was one of four panelists for the "Challenges of Growing Up Asian American" panel discussion. She presented the findings from the Sikh Coalition's two recent anti-bullying reports,"Go Home, Terrorist
" and One Step Forward Half Step Back
. These reports capture the extent of bullying Sikh and Asian American children face in schools in NYC and nationwide. The alarming statistics opened the eyes of the attendees to the more unique experiences faced by Sikh youth and helped raise awareness to stop the bullying of all communities.
Senior Religion Fellow on Department of Religion Panel at Hunter College
On March 26, 2014, Senior Religion Fellow Simran Jeet Singh spoke on a panel organized by the Department of Religion at Hunter College. The panel introduced Sikhi to students of religion, and Simran shed light on Sikh beliefs and practices. Other members of the panel provided their personal experiences of practicing Sikhi in America. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session in which the panelists answered questions about the Sikh worldview.
Sikh Coalition Staff Attorney Speaks on Interfaith Center Panel
On March 8, 2014, the Sikh Coalition was invited to speak at the Interfaith Center of New York’s panel "Social Work and Religious Diversity". Social work practitioners and students gathered with local clergy, community leaders and leading service providers at the UJA-Federation of New York to explore faith-based perspectives on pressing social issues. The panel discussed the role of religion in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Sikh Coalition Staff Attorney, Gurjot Kaur gave participants information on the Sikh faith and Sikh identity to provide them with context on the issues many Sikh youth face..Through the Interfaith Center, the Junior Sikh Coalition is participating in a "Debate in the Neighborhood' program with other youth in the city.
Anti-Bullying Workshops at Glen Rock Gurdwara
The Junior Sikh Coalition
(JSC) presented two anti-bullying workshops to over 80 youth at Glen Rock Gurdwara in New Jersey. The youth, ranging in age from 4 to 17 years old, gained a deeper understanding of the various forms of bullying and how certain behaviors can escalate into bullying. They had the chance to explore why many youth refrain from talking about bullying and sharing personal experiences. They also practiced techniques to deal with bullying situations and collectively identified resources to report incidents.
These workshops, the second of our annual tri-state Gurdwara tour, provided youth with a safe space to effectively discuss an increasingly prominent, shared community issue: bullying and how best to deal with it.
Sikh Coalition Executive Director Honored at Sikh American Chamber of Commerce Gala
On March 29, 2014, the Sikh American Chamber of Commerce hosted their third annual Gala in Edison, New Jersey. Among the honorees was Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition. Sapreet received a standing ovation following Valarie Kaur’s heartfelt introduction of her. During her remarks Sapreet challenged the audience “to think about what are the tangible things that you can do to inspire success today!"
Youth from "Debate in the Neighborhood" Visit a Gurdwara
The Junior Sikh Coalition
(JSC) facilitated a visit of non-Sikh youth to the 118th Street Sikh Cultural Society Gurdwara in Queens, NY. Select members of the JSC have been participating in "Debate in the Neighborhood", a 13-week interfaith program consisting of debate training, concluding with a debate tournament this month with non-Sikh youth. This program has provided a forum for inter-faith dialogue between Sikh youth and youth of other religious backgrounds. About twenty non-Sikh youth and debate trainers toured the Gurdwara guided by JSC members, teaching our history and customs along the way. The attendees left with a deeper understanding of the Sikh faith and practices.
Sikh Advocate Academy Applications are Due Tomorrow
The deadline for applications to the fourth Sikh Advocate Academy is tomorrow. To learn more and apply, please visit our website: www.sikhadvocates.org
The Sikh Advocate Academy is an intensive, week-long workshop from June 8-14, 2014, in Washington, DC that will train approximately 10 individuals on the same advocacy techniques used by the Sikh Coalition to achieve justice. The Academy will be led by experienced social justice advocates and features guest speakers from government agencies, media outlets, and civil rights organizations. Click here to apply!
The Sikh Coalition Is Accepting Applications for Summer Internships
The Sikh Coalition Internship Program gives students hands-on experience in promoting civil and human rights. Through the years, interns have worked to further the mission and vision of the Sikh Coalition by helping to achieve legal victories, as well as educating and empowering the community and contributing to the growth of the organization. For more information about our internship program, please click here
In this Issue
Vaisakhi deeyan lakh
Wishing you a very