For the fifth year in a row, the Sikh Coalition has successfully graduated a new class of talented advocates, who are now professionally trained community volunteers.
After successfully completing our rigorous application process, the advocates received nearly five days of advocacy training in the fields of government, media, and community engagement. The week was filled with lectures, panel discussions with civil rights experts, case study exercises, and a full day on Capitol Hill for individualized visits to Congressional offices.
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The new Sikh Coalition Advocates will join over 40 alumni from around the country in amplifying the Sikh American voice. This program has provided lasting results on behalf of the Sikh American community over the past four years. We are excited to see what our new graduates achieve in their local communities moving forward.
The 2015 class represents leaders from California, Georgia, New Jersey, Arizona, New York, and Rhode Island.
The Sikh Coalition is thankful to its partners in government and the non-profit community for speaking on panels during the Academy. These partners include: Akil Vohra, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Aziz Ahmad, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; Johnathan Smith, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; Rachit Choksi, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; Lakshmi Sridan, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT); Nathan Smith, Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Michael Lieberman, Anti-Defamation League; and Sakira Cook, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
A special thanks to the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery; the Security & Rights Collaborative – a Proteus Fund Initiative; Open Society Foundations – National Security and Human Rights Campaign; and individual donors from the Sikh American community. Without this support, the Sikh Advocate Academy would not be possible.
Senior Law and Policy Director
The Sikh Coalition
Meet Our Class of 2015 Advocates.
Aasees Kaur (Georgia)
“As a Sikh, I have a duty to be the voice for the unheard and take a stand against social injustice. The Sikh Advocate Academy has given me a bolder voice to stand up against injustice. It provided us with the necessary tools, skills, training, and experiences to become strong leaders for civil and human rights issues. I feel very honored to have been a part of this program and learn from experts in their fields.”
Anjleen Gumer (Arizona)
“The Sikh Advocate Academy enabled me to connect with other passionate individuals and provided me with the resources to make an impact in my local community.”
Ashima Duggal (Rhode Island)
"The Sikh Advocate Academy was an eye-opening and enriching experience for me. I learned that effective community, media and political engagement requires creative thinking and different communication techniques. At first, I thought it would be difficult to learn, but the Sikh Coalition trainers were amazing and knew how to break down the process. After one week at the Academy, I feel energized to make a difference in my community in these new ways."
Gurmeet Mohem (California)
"Being part of the Sikh Advocate Academy has instilled in me a newfound sense of civic responsibility towards my community and also for myself. We all have shared values as citizens and being an advocate will equip me with a universal language rooted in equality in order to preserve those liberties for all.”
Harfateh Singh (California)
"The Sikh Advocate Academy provided invaluable knowledge about advocacy and coalition building at the grassroots level. I experienced an incredible feeling of satisfaction while representing the Sikh and Punjabi American communities at Capitol Hill alongside my fellow advocates.”
Harjiv Singh (New Jersey)
“The Sikh Advocate Academy empowers Sikh Americans, especially the youth in this country, to learn more about how our government works and the role Sikh Americans can play in our country.”
Lovedeep Kaur (New York)
“I am proud to be a member of the Sikh Advocate Academy, which was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt honored to have the Sikh Coalition staff guide me on how to advocate for civil rights and to actively teamwork with my fellow advocates. Together we brainstormed on how we can use the knowledge we gained to bring about change in each of our respective communities.”
Rosie Bains (California)
“The weeklong training with the Sikh Advocate Academy was an enriching learning experience, and I am excited to utilize the skills I gained to enact change and raise awareness. The opportunity to seek support for legislation from our representatives on Capitol Hill with my fellow advocates' support and staff member's guidance, encourages me to engage our community to further enhance the Sikh American community's fight for civil rights.”
Sehej Kaur (California)
“After attending the Sikh Advocate Academy, I have finally gained the proper tools to keep up the Sikh tradition of fighting against injustice. The weeklong training has equipped me with skills that I can utilize any day to achieve social justice and mobilize communities to act on human rights issues.”
Sue Menon (New York)
“I am moved by the Sikh community’s beauty and spirit, and I strive to reflect the same. Prior to the Sikh Advocate Academy, I had participated in a variety of activities associated with the community, including running a 5K for Vaisakhi and joining in park cleanup projects. I am honored to now be a part of this network and eager to access the robust opportunities ahead. ”
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