Workplace Discrimination Law Passes in New York
On April 9, 2019, the New York State Senate unanimously voted to pass Senate Bill 4037
, which prohibits New York employers from discriminating against employees due to their religious attire, including grooming observations. This legislation will have an immediate impact for Sikhs and other religious minorities who have been turned away from employment in the state of New York, and it further reassures Sikhs that they will never have to decide between their faith and career in New York.
For over 17 years, the Sikh Coalition has been fighting to end employment discrimination in the United States. In 2011, the Sikh Coalition worked to pass the first-ever workplace discrimination law inside New York City
and in 2012, successfully settled a landmark employment discrimination case
against the New York City Metro Transit Authority (MTA). Seven years later, we are proud to see this work helped lead to this historic legislation
CBS Episode Highlights Sikh Resilience
On March 31, 2019, CBS began airing its special featuring the Sikh community
in regional media markets across the country and on digital platforms. In addition to the Sikh story of resilience in response to school bullying, the episode also includes Jewish and Muslim perspectives to collectively examine how religious minorities face bigotry with faith and resolve.
Additionally, the Sikh Coalition joined New Jersey’s Guru Nanak Mission Gurudwara to host a screening of the CBS episode and a panel discussion on school bullying. The event was attended by dozens of community members
, who engaged in a larger conversation about how religious-based bullying is affecting Sikh children.
to watch the CBS episode for free online. Click here
to watch the Oakland, NJ panel discussion. Click here
to learn more about how this episode fits into our multi-year campaign to raise Sikh awareness and enhance public understanding nationwide.
Wishing Everyone a Very Happy Vaisakhi!
Vaisakhi deeyan lakh lakh vadhaeeyan! ਵਿਸਾਖੀ ਦਿਆਂ ਲੱਖ ਲੱਖ ਵਧਾਈਆਂ! We wish everyone a very happy Vaisakhi! Thank you for your ongoing support. Together we are creating a future with no limits for generations to come. [Image courtesy of Sarabjit Singh www.artofsarabjitsingh.com
We have been working to support Vaisakhi proclamations and resolutions across the country, participating in Vaisakhi events, and raising Sikh awareness by asking all 535 members of Congress to celebrate Sikhs on their social media platforms for #Vaisakhi. We are excited to share more updates on these projects soon.
Raising Sikh Awareness From Coast to Coast
This April, our Community Development team continues our never-ending work to raise Sikh awareness nationwide.
On April 3, 2019, Community Development Manager Harleen Kaur presented at the Rubin Museum’s "Everyone is Divine: Celebrating the Sikh Festival of Vaisakhi" event in New York City. During the presentation, Harleen emphasized the historical significance of Vaisakhi and how the founding of the Khalsa empowered the community.
On April 4, 2019, Southern California Community Development Manager Inderpreet Kaur joined community member Pritpal Kaur to deliver a Sikh awareness presentation for students
at the Playa Vista Elementary School in Los Angeles, California. The Transitional Kindergarten class of 25 students was excited to learn more about their Sikh classmate’s heritage. Additionally, the students watched a patka-tying demonstration and were introduced to the harmonium. Click here
to view pictures.
Indiana Passes Hate Crime Bill Lacking Full Protections
On April 3, 2019, Indiana Governor Holcomb signed a hate crime protection bill into law that excludes gender, gender identity and age.
In February, the Sikh Coalition launched a grassroots advocacy and community campaign
to encourage Indiana legislators to pass a hate crime law, which includes the most basic protections for groups targeted by bigotry. In response, our online petition secured almost 200 signatures, our sign-on letter was endorsed by nine local gurdwaras and we partnered closely with Indiana community members to engage their state legislators.
Although the final legislation failed to protect every minority community – meaning that Indiana remains on the list of five states that still do not have meaningful hate crime legislation – the critical Indiana Sikh engagement was a testament to the power of the Sikh voice.
We look forward to engaging the local Indiana Sikh community in the future, and we will continue to advocate for an Indiana hate crime bill that is fully inclusive of all groups targeted by bigotry.
New Zealand Attacks Prompt Vigilance
In response to the horrific attacks at two mosques in New Zealand
, the Sikh Coalition urged gurdwaras and community members to know their rights, remain vigilant and always report cases of bias, bigotry and backlash
In the largest act of mass violence in New Zealand’s history, two mosques were attacked during Friday prayer services on March 15, 2019. This tragedy follows other recent deadly attacks on houses of worship in America, including a synagogue in Pittsburgh, an African American church in Charleston and a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek.
to learn how you can work with the Sikh Coalition to make your gurdwara safer, report hate incidents and know your rights. Additionally, the Sikh Coalition provides completely free and confidential legal assistance to Sikhs who have been discriminated against or subject to bias based upon their religious beliefs or identity. Click here
for a free and confidential consultation in either English or Punjabi.
First-Ever Grassroots Civic Engagement Training
In March, the Sikh Coalition delivered its first-ever grassroots Sikh Civic Engagement Training to 17 community members in the greater Chicago area. During the training, attendees learned firsthand about successful government engagement, delivering Sikhi elevator pitches and how to make specific asks of their elected officials on issues impacting them locally. Afterward, each attendee participated in interactive planning exercises and meetings. Click here
to view pictures from the training.
Only a Few Lanes Left for the SoCal Bowl-a-thon!
The Sikh Coalition is excited to announce that this year’s SoCal Bowl-a-thon
is on May 19, 2019, at Lucky Strike in Orange, California. This is the fourth year hosting the event, and your presence will make it the biggest and best one yet!
There are a very limited number of spots available, so please sign up before it’s too late
! In the last few years, we have sold out well before the event. For questions, please email bowl-SoCal@sikhcoalition.org
Further Action Taken Against ICE
On April 1, 2019, the Sikh Coalition filed a complaint
with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in response to ongoing concerns regarding violations of civil rights for Sikhs at ICE detention facilities across the United States. The next day, we joined South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), several other civil rights organizations and members of Congress to brief legislators about these concerns while demanding further transparency and oversight into the treatment of Sikh detainees. Click here
to watch the full briefing.
The Sikh Coalition recognizes that immigration is a long-standing and complex issue. Even though we do not provide direct legal services on asylum or immigration cases and it has not been a primary focus area, we are here to make sure impacted community members’ civil rights are protected. Click here
to learn more.
Our powerhouse team is expanding! To learn more about our open positions, qualifications and how to apply, click here
. The Sikh Coalition is currently looking to fill one full-time position and one summer internship position based in our New York City headquarters.
The Media and Communications Director
is responsible for guiding and implementing the long-term strategies that educate millions of Americans through large-scale media initiatives. They will report to the Sikh Coalition’s Deputy Director and will be responsible for managing projects and staff across all of the organizations' various communication channels.
The Sikh Coalition is also searching for a summer intern to enhance the work of our Community Development
team. This ten-week internship is a fantastic opportunity for college students to build professional experience, while directly contributing to the groundbreaking civil rights work of the Sikh Coalition.
NYC Comptroller Office Training
On April 2, 2019, Sikh Coalition Legal Client & Community Services Manager Aasees Kaur led a Sikh awareness training
at the Office of the New York City Comptroller. The training included information on the Sikh faith, community and traditions. Since many of the twenty staff members who attended are working directly with the Sikh community in Queens, New York, this training was a great opportunity to teach staff how they can provide better support to the community. Click here
to view pictures.
Consulting on the Set of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy
This month, Southern California Community Development Manager Inderpreet Kaur traveled to the set of ABC’s hit show, Grey’s Anatomy, to consult on a Sikh character’s dress and appearance. Joined by her brother, Inderpreet fielded inquiries on how the show can present a character who identifies as Sikh and is authentic to the faith’s teachings. This also included a turban-tying demonstration. This consultation is a part of our burgeoning work to make sure that Sikhs are accurately represented in Hollywood. Stay tuned for more information on when this episode will air!
Sacramento Kings Celebrate Sikh Awareness
On April 2, 2019, the Sacramento Kings joined the Bay Area Sikh community to celebrate Sikh Heritage Night. Organized by community member Harwin Singh, the event served as an opportunity to celebrate the Sikh identity and featured initiatives highlighting the local Sikh community. Although the Sikh Coalition did not formally partner with the Sacramento Kings on this event, we were honored to support the Bay Area Sikh community in helping spread the word.
In this Issue