#RememberOakCreek Six Years Later Through Seva
On August 5, 2018, our nation will commemorate the six-year anniversary of the gurdwara shooting tragedy that took place in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. To honor the chardi kala spirit and resilience of the Sikh community, the sixth National Day of Seva (selfless community service) event will take place on August 4-5, 2018. As we approach the Oak Creek anniversary, we recognize that combating and preventing hate remains our top priority. The event serves as an opportunity to stand together with the Oak Creek sangat and honor the lives impacted through seva.
Click here for a toolkit and resources to help you get started. If you have questions about organizing a seva event in your city, please email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every year, in the Sikh spirit of eternal optimism, the Oak Creek sangat has organized a Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Walk and Run. Moving forward, the sangat has made the decision to host the Chardhi Kala 6K every five years so the Oak Creek event will not happen this year. The next event is scheduled to take place in 2022.
Immigration: Know Your Rights & How You Can Help
In response to the number of Sikhs being indefinitely detained at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities, the Sikh Coalition is collecting immigration resources from organizations specializing in providing resources and legal counsel to Sikhs as they navigate the complex and increasingly hostile immigration system. Click here for Know Your Rights materials or access to free legal aid resources.
The Sikh Coalition is also working with other civil rights organizations, outside immigration attorneys and Sikh community leaders to gain more intelligence into the detention issues that Sikhs are facing at ICE facilities across the country. While the Sikh Coalition does not provide direct legal services to Sikhs dealing with immigration-related issues, we remain deeply invested in making sure that Sikh detainees have equal access to due process and that religious rights are protected.
Sikh Advocate Academy Graduates 7th Class
This June, the Sikh Coalition successfully graduated twelve talented volunteers from the Sikh Advocate Academy, our signature grassroots training program in Washington, DC. The volunteer advocates received a week of intensive training from Sikh Coalition staff and guest speakers on government engagement, media engagement and community engagement. The training culminated in twelve visits to congressional offices at Capitol Hill, where advocates offered to partner with their representatives to organize grassroots community forums on issues surrounding hate, employment discrimination, police profiling and bullying.
Since 2011, the Sikh Coalition has trained 77 volunteer advocates on the same advocacy techniques we use to protect civil rights and achieve justice. The volunteer advocates are an integral part of the Sikh Coalition’s network and reflect our commitment to continue investing in our community.
Sikh Awareness Training For Sacramento Law Enforcement
On July 9, 2018, Sikh Coalition Social Justice Fellow Winty Singh delivered a Sikh awareness training to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in California. The training was conducted for more than 20 law enforcement officials from the Elk Grove Police Department, Rancho Cordova Police Department, Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and officers from the Folsom Cordova Unified School District.
As we work to combat and prevent hate nationwide, this training supports our never-ending effort to educate law enforcement officials about the Sikh faith, community and the challenges they face.
Addressing Civil Rights Concerns With TSA
On July 2, 2018, Sikh Coalition National Advocacy Manager Sim J. Singh joined Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials in Washington, DC to discuss repeated civil rights violations of Sikh travelers passing through airports across the country, including Canadian Cabinet Minister Navdeep Bains. The TSA is now planning to enhance its staff trainings and improve resources available for Sikh travelers.
If you have had a negative experience with the TSA, including being consistently selected for additional screening or told to remove an article of faith, please report the incident through the FlyRights mobile app. Your input is critical and can help us improve TSA trainings at airports across the country.
Do you have a passion for civil rights? The Sikh Coalition is currently hiring for two full-time positions based in our New York City headquarters.
The Operations Manager will oversee the organization’s finances to ensure fiscal responsibility and compliance, further develop the technology infrastructure, manage human resources and the day-to-day functioning of the office, and provide support to special projects and events. The Media & Communications Manager will be responsible for managing projects across all of the organization's various communications channels. This work includes: website management, email management, graphic design, community engagement collateral, fund development collateral, traditional media engagement and social media expertise.
Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, so please apply today.
Tennessee Camp Builds Community Relations
In June, the Tennessee Gurmat Camp brought together 120+ Sikh youth and adults to explore Sikhi and how Sikh principles can be applied in daily life. Sikh Coalition Legal Client & Community Services Manager Aasees Kaur led a workshop focused on the intersectionality of privilege and faith with all camp attendees. Throughout the workshop, all age groups explored their individual privileges within and around the Sikh community to understand how equality plays a role in the Sikh faith.
Click here to view pictures.
Virginia Declares June Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month
On June 26, 2018, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia officially declared June 2018 as Sikh Awareness & Appreciation Month throughout the state. The Sikh Coalition worked with community leaders in Virginia to ensure the passing of this proclamation including Drs. Baljit Sidhu and Dr. Bimal Sandhu of the Richmond Gurdwara.
Virginia joins many other cities and states across the country that have issued proclamations to raise Sikh awareness in their communities. The Sikh Coalition would like to thank the hundreds of Sikhs who worked to raise Sikh awareness this year as we continue our organizational work to educate the American public about the Sikh community, faith and traditions.
Click here to view pictures.
Sikh Project Captivates Audiences in Chicago
This June, the Sikh Project displayed 19 captivating portraits to audiences in Chicago, Illinois. The photography exhibition, which launched to critical acclaim in 2016, features portraits of turbaned men and women that embody the diversity of the Sikh community and recognize the challenges and triumphs of what it means to be Sikh in the United States. Since its initial launch in New York City, thousands of people have learned about the Sikh faith through the exhibition as it travels from coast to coast. Look out for the Sikh Project coming to a city near you!
NYC Human Rights Report Details Discrimination Towards Religious Communities
On June 19, 2018, Sikh Coalition staff and interns attended a NYC Commission on Human Rights press conference releasing a new report on the prevalence of discrimination, bias incidents and harassment in religious communities. Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur spoke at the press conference, expressing support for creating a community-based referral network that better serves marginalized communities across New York City.
The report summarizes the experiences of over 3,000 Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Jewish and Sikh New Yorkers, and finds a low incident reporting rate in these communities. One key finding noted that a Sikh under the age of 35 has nearly twice the chance of experiencing verbal harassment as non-Sikhs over the age of 35. The Sikh Coalition provided background support in the compilation of this report.
Click here to view pictures from the press conference. Click here to read the full report.
Senior Staff Attorney Testifies Before New York City Council
On June 18, 2018, Sikh Coalition Senior Staff Attorney Julian Darwall testified before the New York City Council on preventing employment discrimination. In particular, he spoke in support of an administrative code amendment that would prohibit retaliation against individuals who request reasonable accommodations under the New York City Human Rights Law. For example, the proposed amendment would prohibit any retaliatory action by an employer if an employee requested a reasonable accommodation on the basis of religious observance. Given the Sikh Coalition’s knowledge and repeated experience in dealing with issues of retaliation in employment cases, Mr. Darwall testified that preventing retaliation is crucial to ensuring substantial protections under the Human Rights Law.
In this Issue