May 2, 2019 (Royal Oak, MI) – Throughout the month of April, Michigan Sikh Coalition Advocates and volunteers worked to deliver Sikh awareness trainings to over 100 police officers of the Royal Oak Police Department. These trainings were catalyzed in response to a July 2018 incident involving Sikh community member Harchint Singh and the police department, and both parties recognized the value of doing more to understand and respect the Sikh community.
“I knew that I wanted to use my negative experience as a positive opportunity to educate law enforcement about Sikhi,” said Sikh Coalition Advocate, Harchint Singh. “We are thankful that the Royal Oak Police Department was so willing to partner with us in better educating their officers and we hope to facilitate similar law enforcement trainings throughout the state of Michigan.”
As a result of the multi-month grassroots outreach supported by the Sikh Coalition, the Royal Oak Police Department organized four Sikh Awareness trainings over the course of a month that enabled the entire Royal Oak Police Department to be trained.
Michigan is home to 11 gurdwaras (Sikh houses of worship) and the Sikh population has steadily been growing. Based on the most recent FBI data, between 2016 and 2017, hate crimes in Michigan increased by more than 14%.
“Trainings like these help raise awareness and build bridges between law enforcement and the Sikh community,” said Sikh Coalition Policy and Advocacy Manager, Nikki Singh. “These local efforts remain critical to our never-ending work to combat and prevent hate in America.”
The Sikh Coalition continues to protect Sikh civil rights through legal, policy, communications and education work. This work has recently also included efforts to ensure that Sikhism is taught accurately in Michigan’s public schools
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.