In 2009, I became the first Sikh soldier in a generation to serve in the military with my articles of faith. At that time, the Department of Defense viewed our campaign to end religious discrimination as a minor inconvenience, while the American public still knew next to nothing about Sikhs, our rich military history or our struggle to serve.
It’s incredible to think about how far we have come since we first started.
Last night, courtesy of the Sikh Coalition, 1.5 million more Americans watched CBS Evening News and were further introduced to Captain Simratpal Singh and the Sikh right to serve. To watch the CBS Evening News segment, click here. Please post, share and join the millions more who watch it and discuss it on social media today! #LetSikhsServe
Captain Singh’s landmark religious accommodation was recently joined by three more victories in April. These cases, which double the total number of successful religious accommodations ever achieved, were publicized in media outlets, reaching tens of millions more Americans across the country earlier this year.
While these victories show undeniable progress in our fight to end religious discrimination in the U.S. military, the presumptive ban on our Sikh articles of faith still exists. There is still hard work to be done.
In just a few years, the Sikh Coalition’s leadership has transformed this campaign from a niche issue that very few cared about into a mainstream debate about religious freedom that is getting the attention of senior decision makers in the Pentagon and the White House.
With this incredible momentum on our side, we are working furiously to end this policy once and for all. New clients are being brought on board, and media outlets are paying closer attention than ever before. We are proud to say the Sikh Coalition’s legal team, working in conjunction with the legal partners of McDermott Will & Emery and The Becket Fund, is as strong as it has ever been. Please sign our change.org petition with the Truman National Security Project, which calls on President Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to remove restrictions for Sikhs wishing to serve in the U.S. military.
When we end religious discrimination by our nation’s largest employer, we will be sending a message to all Americans that Sikhs will never tolerate discrimination in any form, anywhere, under any circumstances. In the true spirit of our Guru’s message, we will have fought for social justice for the benefit of all. That’s a monumental victory that we can all support.
Major Kamal Singh Kalsi
P.S. For more information about the campaign, please see below.
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