October 12, 2016 (Washington, DC) – Today, representatives from the offices of United States Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and United States Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and John Garamendi (D-CA) held a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss Sikhs in America. The event, which was supported by the Sikh Coalition, celebrated diversity and inclusiveness, and helped raise awareness about the important issues facing the Sikh American community today.
“This gathering is so important because our nation is strong and great not because we share a common religion, a common ethnicity, a common race, but because our greatness lies in our common values and our common ideals, our respect for each other, our recognition of each other’s value and worth,” said Senator Cory Booker. “I’m grateful for the Sikh Coalition’s efforts to elevate understanding and raise awareness, because when we understand each other, we get stronger.”
Sikh Coalition Director of Law and Policy, Arjun Singh, spoke at the event and discussed some of the pressing challenges that Sikh Americans face, including employment discrimination, hate violence, bullying and profiling, and prescribed policy solutions going forward.
“We thank these lawmakers for drawing attention to the Sikh American experience,” said Arjun Singh. “We must celebrate our differences, and curb the rising tide of bigotry, bullying, and employment discrimination that’s proliferating across the country.”
Also speaking at the event was Leigh O’Neill, Managing Director for Policy at the Truman National Security Project, Madihha Ahussain, a Staff Attorney at Muslim Advocates, and Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi from the United States Army. Major Kalsi, a partner of the Sikh Coalition, addressed the ongoing challenges Sikh Americans face when enlisting in the U.S. military. Despite the considerable recent progress
made in our campaign to end religious discrimination in the U.S. military, Sikh Americans who wish to serve still must first obtain a religious accommodation.
We are grateful to the lawmakers who made this event possible, the panelists who participated, and the many community members who attended in person.