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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
March 11, 2017

Hate Crime Investigation Launched After Sikh Shot in Washington

A Sikh man was shot and injured Friday night in a suburb of Seattle. According to news reports, the gunman – who is still at large – told him to “go back to your own country.” Local authorities have confirmed that the shooting is being investigated as a potential hate crime. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh man and his family as he requests privacy during this time.

Working with local Sikh community members in Washington, the Sikh Coalition helped facilitate widespread local and national media coverage and worked with local, state and federal officials, urging them to:
  • conduct a thorough hate crime investigation
  • improve laws and regulations relating to bias prevention
  • organize Know Your Rights forums to build resilience in targeted communities
  • partner with Sikh Americans to expand Sikh awareness and appreciation
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

Thousands Have Joined the #LoveMyNeighbor Campaign; Add Your Name!

The U.S. government’s orders on immigration continue to fan the flames of xenophobic backlash. In addition to backlash against Sikhs, threats and violence have targeted Muslim and Jewish communities. It is for this reason that the Sikh Coalition has partnered with Auburn Seminary to launch an interfaith letter-writing campaign to show our solidarity with both communities.

This initiative emphasizes to our American Muslim and Jewish classmates, neighbors and colleagues that we are strongest as a nation when we stand together. #LoveMyNeighbor

Click here to show your solidarity with a message of support!

Vigil on Capitol Hill Honors Victims of Hate Violence

On March 10, 2017, the Sikh Coalition joined allied civil rights organizations on Capitol Hill to honor victims of hate violence. Earlier in the day, Interim Program Director, Rajdeep Singh, asked Congressional staffers to push for the creation of a federal hate crime task force. The Sikh Coalition made this request of the White House in an op-ed on CNN in response to a spate of hate crimes targeting Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish American communities nationwide.

Report Hate, Know Your Rights & Protect Your Loved Ones 

In recent weeks, we have shared information in English and Punjabi on gurdwara security, immigration rights, and reporting hate incidents. Please review this information and share it with your local gurdwara.

We should not wait until someone gets hurt or killed to report hate incidents. We must be vigilant. If someone says hateful things about your Sikh identity, don’t ignore it – rather, please report the incident to the Sikh Coalition on our Report Hate website – http://reporthate.org – or send an email to our legal team at legal@sikhcoalition.org.

Also, we are co-sponsoring a South Asian Bar Association forum on immigration on March 11, 2017 from 9:30am to 1:00pm in Fremont, CA, where expert attorneys will provide free legal consultations. Click here for information.

Know How to Protect Your Gurdwara

In recent months, we have witnessed an increase in hate crimes against Sikh, Muslim, and Jewish communities across the United States. Just recently, a mosque in Quebec City, Canada was attacked by a white supremacist, resulting in the loss of six lives – a tragedy reminiscent of the one the Sikh community faced in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012.

Our communities must take proactive steps to ensure that such incidents are never repeated. Click for resources on how to protect your gurdwara.

Save The Date: 2017 Sikh International Film Festival

If you live in the New York City area, we hope to see you at this year's Sikh International Film Festival on Saturday, April 8th. The event, which celebrates Sikh heritage, traditions and culture will be at the Paley Center for Media in NYC. For more information about tickets and sponsorship, email info@sikharts.com.

Join Us on the Forefront of Civil Rights Work!

The Sikh Coalition’s powerhouse team is expanding! While the deadline for our National Advocacy Manager position has closed, we are still actively seeking to fill several career and internship positions. Click to see all of our current openings.

Senior Staff Attorney: You will provide direct legal assistance and advocate on behalf of Sikhs who have been discriminated against or subject to bias based upon their religious beliefs or identity.

Operations Manager: You will manage our day-to-day national operations including finances, technology and human resources, in addition to providing programmatic support and managing our volunteer network.

Legal Fellow: You are a recent law school graduate who is ready to commit to a fellowship lasting three to six months to work with our legal team, conduct legal research and interface with our clients.

College and graduate students, please check out our summer internship opportunities. We are currently accepting applications for this year's summer internship program on a rolling basis until April 15th.

#LetSikhsServe Tallies Three More Accommodations

The U.S. Army has granted three additional observant Sikh American soldiers enduring religious accommodations since last month, permitting each of them to serve with their religiously mandated turbans and beards.

The wave of eight accommodations this year is the largest increase in Sikhs since the Department of Defense banned visible articles of faith in 1981. We recently facilitated in-depth reporting on our collective 8+ years of work on the #LetSikhsServe campaign. Click to read the Deseret News piece. Click to read the Stars and Stripes piece.

The new accommodations have come just after the U.S. Army updated rules governing religious liberty that significantly improve the standards for Sikhs and other religious minorities who seek to serve their country with their articles of faith intact.

Staff Presentations at Princeton and Columbia Journalism School

This month, the Sikh Coalition offered two presentations on university campuses: First, Sikh Coalition Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur and Senior Religion Fellow, Simran Jeet Singh discussed Sikhism at a panel at Princeton University, covering both academic research and the Sikh Coalition’s current work. Second, Simran Jeet Singh also spoke with future religion reporters at Columbia Journalism School on how to cover Sikhi in the media.

Staff Participation on Asian American Federation Panel

On February 7, 2017, the Asian American Federation hosted a panel on the needs of Asian Americans under the new White House administration. An audience of 300 Asian Americans and concerned neighbors joined to learn about immigration, LGBTQ, senior citizen, healthcare and school safety rights. Sikh Coalition Community Development Manager, Harjot Kaur spoke about youth bullying, and offered hands-on tactics to identify, combat and report bias-based discrimination. Esteemed panelists shared several ways to get involved, know your rights and stay alert. For tips on school safety and ending bullying, please visit www.sikhcoalition.org/endschoolbullying.

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