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The Sikh Coalition News
April 6, 2018
  • Raising Sikh Awareness in Response to IL Hate Crime

    April 6, 2018 (Quad Cities, IL) - The Sikh Coalition has worked to raise Sikh awareness in response to the January 28th hate crime against Gurjeet Singh, a Sikh father and husband who was driving for Uber when a passenger put a gun to his head after demanding to know “which country do you belong to?” and telling him “I hate turban people.”

    On March 28th, Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur presented all-day Sikh awareness trainings to the Silvis, IL Police Department, the agency that polices the area where the gurdwara and many members of the Sikh community are located. The trainings outlined that basic tenets of Sikhi, detailed how to process and investigate future hate crimes, and provided resources for positive community engagement between the police department and the Sikh community.

    To see pictures from the training, click here.

    “These trainings are so critical to raising awareness and building bridges between law enforcement and the Sikh community,” said Sikh Coalition Legal Director, Amrith Kaur. “We know that by conducting this training we are putting everybody in a better position to investigate and handle hate crimes in the future.”

    On April 1st, Sikh Coalition Legal Client and Community Services Manager, Aasees Kaur, also conducted a comprehensive Know Your Rights training at the Silvis gurdwara. The training detailed how to identify and respond to a hate crime and understand your legal rights throughout the process. The training was attended by nearly 60 Silvis sangat members. Then, on April 3rd, as a part of the larger community engagement effort, community members met with Silvis police officers in order to familiarize the officers with the gurdwara and start a discussion regarding gurdwara security.

    To see pictures from the training, click here.

    “The Sikh Coalition’s Know Your Rights training and work on building stronger relationships with local elected officials and law enforcement agencies is exactly what we needed,” said the Gurdwara Singh Sabha Silvis management team. “The depth of support and care for our local sangat will pay enormous dividends immediately.”

    Additionally, the Quad Cities Sikh community worked with local elected officials to pass Sikh awareness resolutions in Rock Island County, IL and Silvis, IL. These successful resolutions were the first-ever in the Quad Cities area, and reflect the effective engagement between the local Sikh community and elected leaders.

    In March, Gurjeet Singh requested that his legal case be closed so that he can focus on recovering from this traumatic experience. While we recognize that there will not be legal justice in this case, we applaud Gurjeet and his family for the courage it takes to speak out when a crime was committed against him. Through this difficult process, Gurjeet has raised Sikh awareness and started important new dialogues between local Quad Cities officials, law enforcement, and the Sikh community. We respect Gurjeet's right to seek closure in this investigation as we continue our work to combat and prevent hate across America, and continue to support the local Quad Cities Sikh community in addressing these issues.

    “I thank the Sikh Coalition for all of their support and advocacy on behalf of my case and the Sikh community in Silvis, Illinois,” said Gurjeet.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

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