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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
May 11, 2019
  • Thank you for Raising Sikh Awareness in April Nationwide!

    Momentum for Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month and official recognitions of Vaisakhi have reached new heights this year. Through our easy-to-use guide for passing Sikh awareness resolutions and proclamations, more community members were empowered to engage elected officials and share the importance of Sikhi than ever before.

    As California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington renewed and deepened their celebration of Sikh Americans, Colorado, Utah, Connecticut and Wisconsin passed their first-ever state-wide resolutions. Additionally, Sikh community members worked with elected officials to secure at least 33 official Vaisakhi and Sikh Awareness resolutions and proclamations in cities, counties and school districts across the United States. Thanks to local Sikh leaders, this included first-time local recognitions in Salt Lake City, UT; Lexington, KY; Olathe, KS; and more. Click here to view pictures from the events.

    The Sikh Coalition was proud to support this work, including our engagement with 54 bipartisan Congressional and Governors’ offices to celebrate Vaisakhi by sharing Sikh awareness social media posts on their platforms on April 14th, reaching a potential four million Americans. These Sikh awareness initiatives complimented federal developments, where legislators were able to introduce a Vaisakhi resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. We thank all the community members whose grassroots efforts helped raise Sikh awareness nationwide.
  • Action Taken To Ensure Sikhism Taught in Michigan Public Schools

    The Sikh Coalition has been working behind-the-scenes to ensure that Sikhism is taught in Michigan public schools and that it is taught accurately. Currently, Michigan’s K-12 social studies standards are under review. In the current draft, one section describes Sikhism incorrectly as a blend of other religions and not as an independent religious tradition. In another section, Sikhism is fully excluded from the list of world religions. We cannot let these standards pass as they currently stand.

    With Michigan’s Board of Education scheduled to vote on finalizing these standards in June, we have been hard at work advocating with Michigan community members to correct facts and make sure that Sikhism is included accurately in the state’s social studies standards. The Sikh Coalition thanks all those who were involved for their support and activism.
  • 1,200 New York Students Learn About Sikhism in Their Classrooms!

    The Sikh Coalition worked with the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District in New York to bring Sikh awareness to 1,200 students in their schools. Over the past three weeks, Sikh Coalition staff and trained volunteer presenters conducted 36 presentations in every 6th and 9th grade social studies class throughout the school district.

    This initiative was made possible through the multi-year advocacy efforts of New York state community and school district member Ishmeet Kaur, who wanted to ensure that Sikhism was represented in the curriculum. Click here for photos from the 6th grade presentations.

    The Sikh Coalition continues working to ensure that Sikhism is taught accurately and is included in state curriculum standards across the nation. We also continue to develop the nation’s leading Sikh educational resources for students, parents and educators. Check out our complete resources and guides here.
  • Solidarity in Response to Poway Synagogue Attack

    On Saturday, April 27, 2019, a gunman walked into the Chabad of Poway, California, and started shooting at the congregation, killing one member and wounding three others on the last day of Passover. The attack was exactly six months after the deadly shooting at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue that killed 11 and injured several more.

    The Sikh community will never forget when a neo-Nazi gunman with white supremacist ties walked into a Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and murdered six Sikh Americans while injuring several more on August 5, 2012. In response to this most recent act of violence in an American house of worship, the Sikh Coalition calmly urges sangat members to know their rights, share our gurdwara security toolkit, remain vigilant and always report cases of bias, bigotry and backlash.
  • Successful Law Enforcement Trainings in Michigan, Louisiana and Delaware

    In April, the Sikh Coalition had been busy training law enforcement officials throughout the nation. On April 12, 2019, Community Development Director Rucha Kaur was joined by area community members to deliver Sikh Awareness trainings to police officers serving the New Castle, Delaware community. In Michigan, Sikh Coalition Advocates and volunteers delivered four weekly Sikh awareness trainings to over 100 police officers from the Royal Oak Police Department.

    Legal Client & Community Services Manager Aasees Kaur also conducted trainings on May 6, 2019, in New Orleans, Louisiana, for law enforcement officers and elected officials. All of these trainings covered topics such as values and beliefs of Sikhism, history of Sikhs in the United States and challenges Sikh Americans commonly face.

    “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.”
  • Cheerleader Registration Opened for SoCal Bowl-a-thon!

    The Sikh Coalition is excited to host our SoCal Bowl-a-thon on May 19, 2019, at Lucky Strike Orange in Orange, California. This is our fourth year hosting the event, and your presence will make it the biggest and best one yet! Cheerleader registration is now open, so come cheer on your family and friends. If you’re unable to attend the event, please consider supporting by donating to a participant or team. For more information on how to do this or for any other questions, please email bowl-SoCal@sikhcoalition.org.
  • Vaisakhi & the Community - Events, Trainings & More

    With local Sikh communities celebrating Vaisakhi across the country, the Sikh Coalition had the opportunity to participate or facilitate several exciting events. From Sikh Awareness Presentations in Southern California, Delaware and New York to Nagar Kirtans in Los Angeles and New York City, staff members worked with community members on grassroots community efforts that helped raise Sikh awareness. The Sikh Coalition was able to reach school children, law enforcement officers, museum attendees and interfaith partners through Sikh Awareness Presentations this past month.

    The Sikh Coalition partnered with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and other organizations to celebrate Sikhs in New York City at the City's second-annual Vaisakhi celebration. The evening featured speeches from Sikh Coalition staff Aasees Kaur and Simran Jeet Singh, and Junior Sikh Coalition member Harwinder Singh – as well as many others. Click here to view our Facebook Live video from the event itself.

    At the Nagar Kirtan in Los Angeles and the Sikh Day Parade in New York City, we also made sure to focus on youth leadership and development, engaging youth community members in conversations and dialogue around Sikh awareness and identity.
  • Are You the Next Great Youth Leader? Apply Now for the Junior Sikh Coalition!

    The Sikh Coalition is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2020 Junior Sikh Coalition (JSC) class. JSC is a student-led initiative designed to inspire Sikh youth, strengthen the communities to which they belong and help them achieve their leadership potential. JSC engages in leadership trainings, team-building workshops, community events and professional conferences, while working to create change in themselves and their communities.

    We are looking for the next generation of youth leaders who are willing to learn, grow and play a leadership role in building efforts to strengthen Sikh communities. Just this past year, the Junior Sikh Coalition worked together to create new spaces to talk about mental health, bullying, women’s empowerment, and bias and discrimination. Click here to access the application for the Junior Sikh Coalition class of 2020. The deadline to apply is Monday, May 20, 2019. You must be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior in high school, or college freshman or sophomore living in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut within commuting distance to New York City to be eligible to apply.
  • New Online Series Features Sikhs in the Trucking Industry

    On April 16, 2019, AJ+ released an episode of their Untold America series that highlights the Sikh community and the growing number of truck drivers in the United States. The Sikh Coalition worked with producers to locate contacts and resources for their reporting in this educational video project that reached over 524,000 unique viewers. The project features a ride-along with long-haul trucker Satnam Singh and dives into his journey to realize his American dream, exploring why he immigrated to the US and the discrimination he has experienced as a citizen.

    The Sikh Coalition’s media engagement work offers cost-effective and sustainable solutions for raising Sikh awareness. This work continues to average nearly 200 U.S. news stories a month and includes high-impact projects like CBS Evening News, CNN’s United Shades of America and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.
  • Exciting Southern California Updates

    The Sikh Coalition thanks the Southern California Sikh community for the numerous Vaisakhi celebrations that helped raise Sikh awareness. During the month of April, Southern California Community Development Manager Inderpreet Kaur met with public officials, educators and gurdwaras to foster Sikh awareness, empowerment and education. This included attending the Mayor’s National Prayer Breakfast and leading two Sikh Awareness presentations in schools: Playa Vista Elementary School and Fullerton College.

    Inderpreet also attended an event hosted by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations to further our advocacy work in California on April 9, 2019. Additionally, the Sikh Coalition was invited to attend Los Angeles Unified School District’s Advisory Council meeting on April 11, 2019. Both of these meetings presented exciting, new opportunities for deepening our work to protect Sikh civil rights in Southern California, and we look forward to sharing next steps soon.
  • St. Louis Gurdwara Hosted Sikh Presenters Training & Anti-Bullying Workshop

    On May 4, 2019, the Sikh Coalition conducted Sikh awareness presenter trainings for St. Louis, Missouri sangat members. This training provided attendees with the skills and knowledge to walk into a classroom, workplace or any other public forum and deliver an engaging Sikh awareness presentation that is accurate and informative.

    In addition, Community Development Director Rucha Kaur joined the Sikh Study Circle of St. Louis on May 5, 2019, to host a Back to School Presentation and screening of the new CBS Religion and Culture documentary, which features stories of Sikh resilience through faith and resolve. Click here to view photos.
  • New Orleans Training & Anti-Bullying Workshop

    On May 6, 2019, the Sikh Coalition conducted Sikh awareness trainings at Delgado Community College for nearly 50 New Orleans law enforcement officers and elected officials. The trainings included a general understanding of the tenets of Sikhi, how to process and investigate possible bias-related incidents and the resources available to ensure positive community engagement between law enforcement agencies, government officials and the New Orleans Sikh community.

    In addition, Legal Client & Community Services Manager Aasees Kaur joined the Gurdwara Sahib of New Orleans on May 5, 2019, to host a Back to School Presentation that dove into the larger topic of religion-based bullying in schools. The presentation and discussion shed light on this challenging topic that remains a hard part of our community’s experience, including sharing free resources to combat and prevent future bullying cases. We also hosted a screening of the new CBS Religion and Culture documentary, which features stories of Sikh resilience through faith and resolve.
  • We’re Hiring - Join Our Team!

    We are currently looking to hire a Media and Communications Director based in our New York City headquarters. This position will be responsible for guiding and implementing the long-term strategies that educate millions of Americans through large-scale media initiatives. Additionally, this position will manage the entire communications department, which contributes to every facet of the Sikh Coalition’s work. Click here to learn more and apply today!
  • Sikh Coalition Attends NYC Interfaith Seder

    On April 17, 2019, Community Engagement Fellow Sahej Preet Singh joined representatives of various faith communities at New York City's third-annual Interfaith Seder for Immigrant and Refugee Justice in Brooklyn, New York. The event served as an opportunity to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Week in New York and address growing concerns surrounding immigrant and refugee rights in NYC and the nation. Sahej Preet shared remarks during the event, which also included speakers from the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim faith communities.

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