October 29, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Two weeks ago, the Sikh Coalition partnered with the White House Asian American and Pacific Islander Initiative (AAPI) to launch Act To Change
- a national campaign aimed to raise awareness of bullying in our nation’s schools.
We are pleased to report that this initiative is already having incredible and immediate results.
Yesterday, the Sikh Coalition’s Law and Policy Director, Arjun Singh, joined three Sikh community members, all of whom have long advocated for anti-bullying reform, for a high-level meeting with senior administration officials at the White House.
Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett joined Arjun Singh, Dapinder K. Ahluwalia, Aasees Kaur, and Tejinder Singh for a roundtable discussion that featured the Sikh perspective along with a broader discussion on how federal agencies can better combat bias-based bullying.
Aasees and Tejinder are the sister and father of Japjee Singh – a Sikh student from Georgia who courageously contacted the Sikh Coalition after being bullied for years. Dapinder’s son was bullied so badly in a private school in New York City that when the school refused to properly respond, she was forced to relocate to a new school district in New Jersey.
“My brother spoke out and with the support of the Sikh Coalition, we refused to let the DeKalb County school district ignore the problem of bias-based bullying,” said Aasees, who also volunteers as a Sikh Coalition Advocate. “Now we’re at the White House working to ensure that the rest of the country addresses the problem too.”
Dapinder, like so many Sikh families across the United States, faced the horrible choice of speaking up and tackling the problem publicly or fearing that publicity would make the problem worse for her son. “The bullying of my son has altered our lives forever, but to be at the White House, working with the Sikh Coalition, and talking about this problem head on makes me believe that the future for the next generation of children in our schools will be better.”
An effective response to bullying must begin with the acknowledgement that bullying is an epidemic and is prevalent in classrooms across the nation. We must stand up, reach out and speak up.
"Meetings like today show that the Sikh community is a national leader in the movement to stop bullying. We are excited to move this important work forward with The White House," said Arjun Singh.
If you are a parent, child, or family member dealing with bullying issues, want to learn more about your rights, and/or require confidential and pro bono (free) legal assistance, please fill out our Request Legal Assistance form here
or call us at 212-655-3095, ext. 85.
As always, we urge all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly.