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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
May 15, 2016
  • CBS Evening News Features Sikh Military Campaign

    CBS Evening News aired a short television segment on May 13, 2016, featuring our client, Captain Simratpal Singh. The Sikh Coalition worked  with CBS producers throughout the month of April to bring forward another high profile story highlighting the need to end religious discrimination in the military.

    Click here to view the segment.

    On average, 1.5 million Americans watch CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley every night, and a couple million more Americans watch it on various websites and social media channels in the immediate 24 hours that follow. This public attention continues to increase pressure on Pentagon decision makers to #LetSikhsServe.
  • Have You Watched The Sikh Daily Show Segment Yet? 

    In our ongoing work to increase the profile of Sikhs across all media platforms, we worked with producers on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on a segment examining unique challenges faced by Sikh Americans. The segment aired on April 25, 2016, and educated millions while denouncing the xenophobic rhetoric that minority communities are facing across the country.

    Click here to watch Sikhs on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

    This opportunity came to fruition because Comedy Central noticed the exceptional media work that the Sikh Coalition had previously done, and Daily Show Senior Correspondent Hasan Minhaj partnered with the Sikh Coalition in our White House anti-bullying work last year.
  • Sikh Demands Accountability After Texas Terror Accusation

    The Sikh Coalition filed a complaint with Texas law enforcement agencies on behalf of a turbaned Sikh, demanding that criminal charges be brought against individuals who falsely accused Mr. Daljeet Singh of making a bomb threat and who unlawfully restrained him on a bus.  Mr. Singh was a passenger on a Greyhound bus traveling through Amarillo, Texas on February 21, 2016, when he was falsely accused by a fellow passenger of making a terroristic threat, resulting in arrest at gunpoint and 30 hours of detention.

    To learn more, click here. The Sikh Coalition will continue legal support and continue working to secure and coordinate local and national media coverage to bring public attention to this profiling case.

    Please continue to use our online tool, www.ReportHate.org, to report incidents of harassment, discrimination or violence. For legal assistance, please fill out our request legal assistance form.
  • Sikh Soldiers Commemorate Vaisakhi at the Pentagon

    For the third consecutive year, the Office of the  Pentagon Chaplain commemorated Vaisakhi with members of the military and the Sikh community on April 29, 2016.

    View photos of the celebration here.

    “We hope that this celebration of religious diversity continues with more observant Sikh soldiers serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Major Kamal Singh Kalsi, the lead organizer of the Pentagon Vaisakhi event. Major Kalsi was the first Sikh in a generation to receive a religious accommodation to serve with his articles of faith.

    This celebration at the Pentagon comes right after Captain Simratpal Singh and three additional observant Sikhs successfully obtained long-term religious accommodations to serve in the U.S. Army.
  • U.S. Edition of The Singh Project Launches

    The US edition of the Singh Project launched in April with five days of intensive photographing in the Sikh Coalition's NYC office. We also received over 200 submissions from community members across the nation who want to be a part of this exciting project! The photographers, Amit and Naroop, will be back to take their next series of photos in June, and we will be announcing the exhibit launch dates later this summer. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting project!

    View Amit and Naroop’s incredible portrait work here and the Singh Project (UK Edition) here.
  • Sikh Coalition Sponsors Bullying Prevention and Resources Bill in California

    The Sikh Coalition is co-sponsoring California Assembly Bill AB2845, which was unanimously supported by the Assembly's Committee on Education this month. The bill requires the California Department of Education to assess whether educators serving grades 7-12 and students who may face bias or bullying have been provided with adequate resources. The bill also requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to post anti-bullying resources on its website.

    Harjit Kaur, the Sikh Coalition's Community Development Manager, participated in a briefing at the Capitol to discuss the importance of this new legislation. Amandeep Singh of the Yuba County Sheriff's Department provided testimony on the importance of the resources provided by the Sikh Coalition and other civil rights organizations.
  • Apply Now for Scholarships and Financial Aid!

    The Association of Sikh Professionals is offering tuition awards ranging from $500 to $4000 per year to college-going students. Awards will be in the form of scholarships, grants through endowments or interest-free loans. Applicants will be considered based on their academic abilities, financial needs and involvement in Sikh activities. To qualify, you must be attending or be admitted to an accredited 2-4 year college. To apply, please visit this website. The deadline for new applicants is June 8, 2016, and re-applicants is June 23, 2016. Results will be announced by early September.  The Sikh Coalition encourages interested students to apply.
  • Junior Sikh Coalition Recruitment Now Open!

    The Sikh Coalition is proud to announce that recruitment for the fifth year of Junior Sikh Coalition (JSC) is now open! This robust yearlong leadership development program is open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, and college freshmen and sophomores.  We are looking for youth who are truly committed to building youth unity, effecting change in their communities and learning leadership that is transferrable to their professional, academic and personal lives. Members gain skills and training in leadership, social justice community organizing, advocacy and activism. To learn more, please click here and apply today! Deadline to apply is May 31, 2016.
  • In CNN Column, Lt. Murphy Condemns Hateful Rhetoric

    The Sikh Coalition assisted Lt. Brian Murphy -- who was shot 15 times when arriving on the scene of the 2012 shooting at the gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin -- with an op-ed condemning hate violence. The column, "Last Chance for Candidates to Condemn Hateful Rhetoric," appeared on CNN's website on April 28, 2016, and asked all political leaders, including those running for the highest office, to condemn bigotry against religious and ethnic minorities, including Sikhs and Muslims.
  • The Sikh Coalition engages with the FBI and World Affairs Council

    On back-to-back evenings, the Sikh Coalition’s Senior Religion Fellow, Simran Jeet Singh, helped introduce the Sikh tradition to leaders in San Antonio. On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, he presented to members of the FBI Citizens’ Academy, and on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, he led a session with the World Affairs Council.

    Both programs were hosted at the Institute of Texan Cultures, which hosted the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit entitled “Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab.” In each session, Simran stood alongside members of the local community and shared unique aspects of Sikhi, including its beliefs, history and traditions. Community members also provided private guided tours of the exhibit to all in attendance.
  • Sikh Coalition Celebrates Vaisakhi in Southern California

    On April 10, 2016, the Sikh Coalition was pleased to attend the 2016 Vaisakhi Celebration and Nagar Kirtan at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles, where thousands of community members gather to celebrate Vaisakhi. We were honored to meet with many members of the Southern California sangat who stopped by our booth to discuss our work and engagement. Many thanks to the Sikh community of southern California for inviting us to attend this grand celebration.
  • Man Sentenced for Hateful Vandalism of Gurdwara

    On April 19, 2016, a judge sentenced Brodie Durazo to 80 hours of community service at Gurdwara Singh Sabha (Buena Park, CA), an additional 240 hours of graffiti removal, and payment of restitution. Mr. Durazo had vandalized the gurdwara on December 5, 2015, by spraying graffiti, which included references to the Islamic State terrorist organization, on a parking lot wall and a parked truck at the gurdwara. The Sikh Coalition represented the gurdwara and, consistent with the sangat’s wishes, advocated for sentencing that educates Mr. Durazo about Sikhism rather than punishes him. We are pleased with the resolution and commend Jess Rodriguez at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for his prosecution of the case.
  • JSC Educates Non-Sikhs at NYC Vaisakhi Parade

    Year after year, the New York City Vaisakhi Parade successfully unites our community and bridges with our non-Sikh neighbors.  On April 23, 2016, the Junior Sikh Coalition engaged with non-Sikhs to teach about Sikhi and explain the importance of Vaisakhi. In today’s climate of hate and discrimination, this type of engagement is more important than ever.  We are proud of our youth and sangat for working effortlessly to change this landscape through awareness and education.
  • Sikh Coalition Presents on Sikhism at Georgetown University

    On April 12, 2016, Sikh Coalition Director of Law & Policy, Arjun Singh, gave a talk at Georgetown University Law Center on the Sikh articles of faith, hate violence against Sikh Americans, and profiling of Sikh and Muslim Americans. The conversation was part of a series of interfaith events hosted by Campus Ministry, which also included informational sessions on Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. The event was widely attended, including by Sikh students who attend the Law Center.
  • The Sikh Coalition Presents at Princeton University

    This past month, Sikh Coalition Senior Religion Fellow Simran Jeet Singh served on a panel at Princeton University. The program was entitled Princeton Leadership Education and Diversity Summit, and the panel on which he spoke was titled "Race and Ethnicity in Law and Policy."

    Simran sat alongside the former mayor of Princeton and an award-winning lawyer who serves underrepresented immigrant communities. The conversation touched on various topics, including the importance of advocating for minority communities, how we might make positive change in this world and concepts of justice from various ideological standpoints.
  • JSC Hosts Second Open Mic Night

    The Junior Sikh Coalition proudly hosted its second annual Open Mic Night on April 16, 2016, for high school and college students. The well-attended event included four hours of performances, games and entertainment among youth of all backgrounds to help restore and build bridges among communities in a safe space. As a part of the Nirbhau Nirvair (without fear, without hate) campaign, the JSC once again helped inspire youth to positively engage in arts and expression while embodying the message of Nirbhau Nirvair.  We are proud of the JSC and all of the attending youth to have so fearlessly shared their stories and built solidarity.
  • Vaisakhi Commemorated Across the Country

    With support from the Sikh Coalition, community members across the country brought public attention to Vaisakhi and the American Sikh community. Sangat members in California, Washington, Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, New Jersey and New York engaged their lawmakers in April, working with them to pass Vaisakhi resolutions. Students, libraries and community groups worked to organize presentations and Sikh awareness events. Additionally, U.S. Congressman John Garamendi led efforts to add support to a national Vaisakhi resolution recognizing this important occasion.

    Click here to check out the proclamations and community events from around the country. If you would like to share your efforts with us, please email info@sikhcoalition.org!
  • May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

    The Sikh Coalition would like to wish our families, friends and partners a proud Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM). During this month of May, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) of all communities are celebrated for their traditions, cultures and achievements.  During this time, the Sikh Coalition has partnered with other organizations, schools and agencies to honor and bridge AAPI communities through panels, events and campaigns.  Please follow us on Facebook to learn more. In spirit of this heritage month, take the pledge on Act to Change against bullying of AAPI youth!  We hope you will join us in honoring AAPIHM in your local communities!
  • The Sikh Coalition is Hiring a Staff Attorney!

    We’re expanding our powerhouse legal team! The Sikh Coalition seeks a highly motivated staff attorney, based in the organization’s New York City office, to join us on the forefront of our dynamic religious rights and anti-discrimination work.

    The staff attorney will work as part of the Sikh Coalition’s Legal Program, which provides legal assistance to Sikhs who have been discriminated against or subject to bias based upon their religious beliefs or Sikh identity. Our attorneys have successfully litigated cases against major government and corporate employers alike, and have created opportunities for Sikhs to fearlessly live, work, play, learn and raise our children in America. Our Legal Program is committed to ensuring that no Sikh ever has to choose between their faith and the American dream. For more information, click here.

In this Issue

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