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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
July 16, 2016
  • CA Sikh History Approved, Sets Precedent For Nation

    On July 14, 2016, the California State Board of Education successfully passed recommendations to accurately include Sikh history in the curriculum framework. The purpose of this framework is to provide clear guidance for educators, curriculum leaders and textbook publishers.

    For years, the Sikh Coalition has been working tirelessly with community leaders and scholars from across the nation to ensure that Sikh and South Asian history is documented accurately. In California, advocates from a multi-faith and multi-caste community came together to form South Asian Histories For All (SAHFA). This coalition worked together to advocate for the accurate inclusion of Sikh, Dalit, and Muslim history in the California curriculum framework.

    Click here to read more.
  • Sikh Struggle to Serve Featured on CNN

    On July 7, 2016, CNN published a video story featuring our client, Captain Simratpal Singh, the first Sikh soldier in over a generation to receive a religious accommodation while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army. Click here to view!

    We worked for weeks with producers at CNN’s Great Big Story to help ensure that CPT Singh’s story was told. The platform draws an incredible 40 million views a month, and we hope you join the many who watch.

    We hope you share the CNN piece using #LetSikhsServe. CNN’s video now joins The Daily Show and the CBS Evening News segments as the most recent national video news story that the Sikh Coalition has delivered this year.
  • Honor Oak Creek By Joining Day of Seva

    On August 13-14th, we will launch our fourth annual National Day of Seva (selfless community service). This August, as Sikhs across the country come together to honor the lives lost at Oak Creek, WI, we urge the nation to stand in solidarity against hate.

    To find out how you can get involved click here.

    Our communities were forever changed in 2012 when a neo-Nazi gunman entered the Oak Creek Gurdwara and killed six innocent worshippers, wounded several others and unsuccessfully attempted to destroy the unity across our diverse nation. This August marks the fourth anniversary of the tragic shooting inside the Oak Creek Gurdwara. An attack against one community -- whether it’s the LGBTQ community in Orlando or the Sikh community in Oak Creek -- is an attack against us all. Through service, let’s stand with our neighbors of all faiths, races and sexual orientations to unequivocally denounce hatred. The Oak Creek sangat is also organizing their annual Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Walk and Run, which will be held on Saturday, August 6, 2016, in Oak Creek, WI.
  • Prayers, Caution & Know Your Rights

    The Sikh Coalition condemns recent acts of hate and bias-based violence against minority communities, including the Nice attack and the Orlando shooting. In a demonstration of the concepts of seva and Chardi Kala, the Orlando Sikh community raised funds to deliver 4000 drinks, 1600 snack packs and 200 candles to a local vigil. Sikh Coalition staff participated in vigils in New York City, and Sikhs across the country joined in local vigils.

    In the aftermath of such events, minority religious communities are acutely vulnerable to backlash, and we urge every Sikh to exercise extra vigilance and caution during this period of heightened anxiety. Please notify law enforcement of any threats of violence, and contact the Sikh Coalition at 212-655-3095 or online here.

    We urge community members to review our FAQ guide on hate crimes, hate speech and how to report incidents to authorities and the Sikh Coalition. Please also view our printable hate crime poster, which is available in both English and Punjabi. Finally, our web tool -- www.reporthate.org -- is always available for confidentially reporting incidents, whether legally actionable or not.
  • Turning "Terrorist" News Caption into a Positive Story

    On July 6, 2016, a Sikh family was vacationing in Chicago, IL, and attended an event covered by the local ABC News affiliate. When the segment aired later that evening, the closed caption that appeared with the story read “terrorist” instead of “tourist. To understand how this mistake happened, read the apologies from ABC News and the transcription service.

     "Within minutes, the Sikh Coalition was in high-level discussions with the directors at ABC 7 News, figuring out why this horrible mistake happened and how it could be fixed," said Mapreet Bali, whose family was featured on the segment. "The next day, ABC 7 News and the caption transcription firm apologized for their mistake, and vowed to work with the Sikh Coalition to air a positive story about the Sikh American community in Chicago in the coming weeks."

    Click here to read Manpreet Bali's full story.
  • Sikh Project Exhibition Launching in September!

    The Sikh Coalition is excited to announce that the first-ever art exhibition exclusively featuring Sikh Americans will launch in New York City on Friday, September 16th. The Sikh Coalition and British photographers, Amit and Naroop, will feature nearly 40 portraits of Sikh American men and women that explore the style and significance of the Sikh articles of faith. The exhibition will be free to the general public from September 16-25, 2016. The exhibition will highlight Sikh American history that embodies perseverance and progress as we commemorate the 15-year anniversary of 9/11.

    This photography exhibition will be located in the heart of Manhattan at 138 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011.

    For more information, click here, and please RSVP on our Facebook event page.
  • New California Staff Attorney Hired

    We are excited to announce that former Legal Fellow, Pawanpreet Kaur, will be joining the Sikh Coalition as a full-time Staff Attorney this month.

    Pawanpreet is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, and will remain in the Bay Area to provide direct legal services to California community members while supporting the legal team on an array of national cases and advocacy issues. This arrival also marks the departure of Senior Staff Attorney, Gurjot Kaur, who recently departed for an attorney position at the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Gurjot's advocacy on behalf of our clients and the community left lasting results, and she will be missed.
  • Sumitpal & Family Accommodated at Graduation Ceremony with Kirpans

    Congratulations to Sumitpal Singh, who recently graduated from the University of Washington, Tacoma. Sumitpal and his family were initially denied permission to enter the graduation ceremony with their kirpans (a Sikh article of faith). Our legal team represented the family and vigorously advocated on their behalf with the City of Tacoma. Following our intervention, the kirpans were accommodated for the family.

    To view photos, click here.

    Sumitpal and his family were able to celebrate his college graduation while practicing their faith. We will continue to work on behalf of the community to eliminate barriers to religious liberty and encourage all Sikhs to continue to practice their faith fearlessly. Please contact the Sikh Coalition with any legal concerns at 212-655-3095 or online here.
  • More Progress on Landmark CA Anti-Bullying Bill

    On June 15, 2016, the California Senate Education Committee took the next crucial step in combating school bullying by unanimously passing AB2845, an anti-bullying bill co-sponsored by the Sikh Coalition.

    The bill, which made its way through the California State Assembly in late May, will now move to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will be analyzed for costs. The landmark bill ensures that school employees will be provided the necessary resources for students who face school bullying and discrimination. The bill also requires that anti-bullying resources be posted online, to ensure easy access for anyone who needs them.

    Click here to read more.
  • Sikh Coalition Participates in Congressional Briefing on Airline Discrimination

    On June 28, 2016, Sikh Coalition Law and Policy Director, Arjun Singh discussed profiling of Muslim, Arab and Sikh Americans by the TSA and airline companies in a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill. Entitled “Flying While Arab, Muslim & Sikh,” the briefing also featured panelists from partner organizations, including the Arab American Institute and Muslim Advocates. Arjun called on the TSA and airline companies to stop profiling passengers and demanded Congressional legislation to better protect the rights of minority passengers.
  • Sikh Coalition Offers Keynote at Dartmouth Graduation Ceremony

    On June 11, 2016, the Sikh Coalition's Senior Religion Fellow, Simran Jeet Singh offered the keynote address at Dartmouth College’s Baccalaureate Service. His talk was a part of the school’s graduation ceremony, and it was titled “Cultivating Your Best Self.” Simran Jeet shared stories and experiences to illustrate the importance of identifying and practicing one’s values as a way for intentional, sustained and meaningful growth.
  • Sikh Coalition Volunteers to Help Refugees

    On June 26, 2016, the Sikh Coalition joined the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees in New York City to assemble thousands of emergency hygiene kits for Syrian refugees. We saw this as an opportunity to serve a population with immediate and pressing needs. A portion of the kits were designed to meet the specific needs of women, an especially vulnerable population during times of crisis.

    Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, non-religious and others joined Sikh Coalition staff and volunteers for this seva event.

    Click here for photos.
    Click here for news coverage in Religion News Service.
  • Junior Sikh Coalition Begins Know Your Rights on Bullying Summer Gurdwara Tour

    About 67% of turbaned Sikh youth face bullying in schools, and this number may continue to escalate without intervention and training. Every summer, the Junior Sikh Coalition (JSC) engage with youth (ages 6-18) in the tri-state area in recognizing, understanding and addressing bullying.

    The JSC team participates in an in-depth training on bullying, including causes of bullying, law and policy solutions, intervention and prevention strategies. They then prepare workshops to help train other youth in this critical issue and allow youth to share experiences, which in turn helps build a more supportive youth sangat.

    The JSC began this summer’s tour by traveling to Albany on June 28, 2016, where they met with an admirable group of young Sikhs dedicated to stopping bullying. JSC will continue presenting workshops through the fall to 10+ Gurdwaras and camps.
  • Sikh Coalition Educates United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Officers

    On May 18, 2016, the Sikh Coalition’s Community Development Manager, Harjit Kaur met with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S) officers in San Francisco, CA to educate them about Sikhism and the issues Sikh immigrants face in the United States. Our work helps to ensure that the rights of Sikhs are protected in immigration and citizenship proceedings.

  • Junior Sikh Coalition Spends a Day with Native American Youth

    On July 9, 2016, Junior Sikh Coalition traveled to Southampton in Long Island, NY, to the Native American Shinnecock Reservation. Continuing from a workshop in December 2015 with a tribal leader from Colorado, the Junior Sikh Coalition was fortunate to organize a youth summit with local Native American youth on their reservation.

    Following an insightful tour at the reservation’s museum on Shinnecock history and culture, the youth all dined together with homemade Native food. They then discussed their values, struggles and faith practices to identify the similarities and differences that our communities share. The youth summit was conducive to building long lasting relationships and understanding our duty in aligning with other oppressed groups of peoples for a unified goal of restoring justice.

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