Sikh Coalition Rejects Flawed and Misleading DOJ Racial Profiling Guidance
The Sikh Coalition has condemned the Obama Administration’s new racial profiling guidance
as flawed and misleading. Although the new guidance explicitly recognizes that discriminatory profiling is “unfair” and “ineffective,” and that biased practices “promote mistrust of law enforcement, and perpetuate negative and harmful stereotypes” – it still allows discriminatory profiling by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Both agencies are components of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the largest law enforcement agency in the federal government.
: Click here
to send a protest letter to President Obama and the U.S. Congress.
Sikh Coalition in the News
[Victory] Over 50 Errors on Sikhs Corrected in Textbooks
After nearly six years of on-the-ground advocacy work led by the Sikh Coalition, the Texas Board of Education voted on November 22, 2014 to approve textbooks that have corrected over 50 inaccuracies about the Sikh faith and its relationship to history.
The vote was the culmination of countless in-person meetings, emails, phone calls, lobbying, and hundreds of hours poring over thousands of textbook pages to find and correct the inaccuracies. While the Sikh Coalition has worked with educators throughout the country to incorporate the study of Sikhism into the public school curriculum, we strategically invested long-term in Texas because many of the largest textbook manufacturers base their content on Texas. The Texas market for purchasing books dwarfs almost every other state so what Texas decides for their classrooms could follow in up to 46 states across the country. This means that changes made in Texas pave the way for millions of children throughout the nation to learn about Sikhism accurately. Click here
to read more.
5 Million Californians Reached During Sikh Awareness Month
For the fourth year, the California state legislature declared November as "Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month
" to afford all Californians the opportunity to understand, recognize, and appreciate the rich history and shared principles of Sikh Americans. The statewide proclamation opened the door for Sikh Americans to expose over 5 million Californians to Sikh awareness information. California continues to be the only state in the country to have an entire month designated to recognizing and raising awareness about Sikh Americans.
for photos from activities during Sikh Awareness Month.
for a list of successful initiatives from across California.
DOJ Settlement of Sikh Complaint Will Protect 100,000+ School Children
On November 18, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced
it had entered into a second settlement agreement with the DeKalb County School District, near Atlanta, Georgia. This settlement agreement resulted from a complaint originally filed by the Sikh Coalition in 2013
on behalf of a DeKalb County Sikh student, who had been repeatedly bullied and harassed on the basis of his actual or perceived religion and national origin. This second settlement agreement
will require DeKalb County to engage in comprehensive measures to prevent and respond to complaints of peer-to-peer bullying and harassment of its 100,000+ students, including Sikh students, based on their religion and national origin.
Sikh Coalition Army Campaign Film Screened at Sikhlens Festival
The Sikh Coalition's campaign calling for equal opportunity for all Sikhs who wish to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces was highlighted in a new film screened at this year's Sikhlens Art & Film Festival in Orange County, CA. The Struggle to Serve
, which was shown twice throughout the weekend, showcased the stories of three Sikhs currently serving in the U.S. Army with their articles of faith intact. Sikh Coalition staff attended the 3-day film festival and were joined by Major Kalsi and Captain Rattan and their families for the premiere of the film. The Sikh Coalition also provided Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month resources to attendees at the film festival. We congratulate Bicky Singh and the entire Sikhlens organizing committee on another wonderful film festival.
"Sikhs Also Bleed Red, White and Blue"
On November 22, 2014, NewsDay published an Op-Ed
by Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi. In his essay, Major Kalsi discusses the presumptive ban on Sikh articles of faith in the U.S. military as well as his experiences serving in Afghanistan. Major Kalsi's essay was also published by other outlets, including Stars & Stripes, the Virginia Pilot, and Appeal Democrat.
JSC Perform at Lahir: Move the Movement
On December 6, 2014, the Junior Sikh Coalition
(JSC) performed spoken word poetry at Lahir: Move the Movement, a concert and exhibition to provide Sikh artists a space to express and inspire. Taking inspiration from the Nirbhau Nirvair poetry and art workshops the JSC have delivered to youth across the tri-state area over the years, the youth group used poetry as a medium to express their emotions about 1984.
Prubhjot Kaur, Simarjot Kaur, and Harkirat Singh Anand each stepped forward to present their individual poetry. JSC then presented a powerful spoken word piece, a poem that they worked as a group to create. They reflected on 1984 and expressed their responsibility to help move the panth forward. A generation that never lived through 1984, through their poetry, they collectively committed to being activists.
The Sikh Coalition is proud to have supported Lahir through the 'Connecting with 1984' Small Grants Pool
Sikh Coalition & UC Berkeley SAA Host Sikh Women's Event
On December 2, 2014, the Sikh Coalition and UC Berkeley Sikh Student Association hosted a "Sikh Womyn's Circle" event to discuss issues affecting Sikh women and girls in contemporary society. About 35 young Sikh women attended the event which began with a facilitated discussion about gender norms within our community and society. The discussion was followed by a guided writing workshop and performance by Rupi Kaur - a Toronto-based spoken word poetess who writes from a feminist perspective. The Sikh Coalition is committed to addressing issues affecting Sikh women and we are grateful to the UC Berkeley Sikh Student Association for organizing an inspiring event. Pictures of the event can be viewed here
Sikh Coalition Speaks on Anti-Bullying Panel in San Jose, CA
On December 2, 2014, the Sikh Coalition joined the Islamic Network Group and the Jewish Federation of the Silicon Valley at Independence High School in San Jose, CA for a panel on school bullying which was presented to 50 classes over six periods. Western Region Director, Simran Kaur, provided a Sikh Awareness presentation to students followed by a discussion about the bullying of Sikh American school students. The discussion focused on data published in the Sikh Coalition's National Bullying Report
which was released in Congress earlier this year.
Her Name is Kaur Book Reading Held in Los Angeles
On November 20, 2014, the Sikh Coalition hosted a book discussion of Her Name is Kaur: Sikh American Women Write About Love, Courage, and Faith
in Los Angeles. The reading and book discussion brought together local community members and writers from the collection to discuss the intergenerational stories about the lives of Sikh American women. Readers engaged in a valuable discussion about the need to document and discuss stories about Sikh women, the importance of uplifting both challenges and triumphs, and how identity is constructed from a Sikh woman's perspective. We are grateful to community members, Harsimran (Sheetu) and Sajeet Sawhney for hosting this event.
Ravi Singh Aurora, VP of Mastercard, Speaks at Sikh Coalition NYC Office
On November 20, 2014, Ravi Singh Aurora, VP of Mastercard, spoke at the Sikh Coalition’s New York City Office. Mr. Aurora spoke about leadership, entrepreneurship and "how as Sikhs, standing out can be an opportunity to stand taller and stronger."
Over 35 community members attended the event and had a robust discussion with Mr. Aurora about Sikh leadership and how we can move our community forward.
Sikh Coalition Testifies in Support of Sensible Anti-Bullying Solutions in NYC
On November 18, 2014, Senior Staff Attorney Gurjot Kaur testified
before the New York City Council Committee on Education in support of resolutions that would require NYC public schools to implement age-differentiated anti-bullying instruction, cyberbullying courses, and peer-to-peer anti-bullying mentoring programs. Gurjot discussed the alarming rate at which Sikh school children across the country experience bias-based bullying, and cited examples from our most recent national report on school bullying
to demonstrate the need for "sustained and targeted educational efforts" as a form of prevention.
Chairman Dromm agreed with the Sikh Coalition that half measures, which are sadly the typical approach, do not necessarily work to combat bullying. Chairman Dromm noted that the New York City Department of Education has "so much more" to do. Chairman Dromm also thanked the Sikh Coalition for its efforts in ensuring that the rights of LGBT students were protected under the New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), noting that "I think we could have even had some legislation excluding the LGBT community, had it not been for the Sikh Coalition's insistence that that community be included in there, and I think that ultimately the way that we win the battle against all -isms is by sticking together in this effort."
The Sikh Coalition would like to thank Chairman Dromm and Council Member Weprin for their longtime support on these issues, and the Committee on Education for providing the Sikh Coalition an opportunity to testify.
Know Your Rights for Holiday Travel
This holiday season, the Sikh Coalition urges Sikh travelers everywhere to understand their rights by checking out our Sikh Air Traveler’s Guide and Bill of Rights
. This guide contains information on airport screening procedures and your rights as a Sikh air traveler. If you believe you are a victim of TSA screening discrimination, file a complaint directly from your smartphone by downloading and using our FlyRights phone application
Now Accepting Spring 2015 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! Click here
for further details.
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.
The year 2014, marking more than a decade of impact by the Sikh Coalition, has proved to be a groundbreaking year for the community. Today, we need YOU to help us fight for civil rights in 2015 and beyond. We have less than 3 weeks to raise our goal of $1,000,000. If you believe in a no-nonsense Sikh civil rights institution, please support our end of year campaign today!
Please give generously: www.sikhdonate.org
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