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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
August 10, 2019
  • Commemorating Oak Creek, Seven Years After the Mass Shooting

    On August 5, 2019, as our nation continued to mourn in the aftermath of hateful acts of violence in California, Texas, and Ohio, we also marked the seven-year anniversary of the tragic Oak Creek, WI gurdwara shooting that took the lives of six Sikhs and injured several more.

    We solemnly remember Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suveg Singh Khattra, and Satwant Singh Kaleka. We continue to be inspired by the perseverance of those who were critically injured, including Baba Punjab Singh, Bhai Santokh Singh, and Lt. Brian Murphy. And we admire the strength of the entire Oak Creek sangat, who sets a powerful example of resilience for the entire nation.
  • National Partners Join Guru Nanak 550th Celebration

    This year, Sikhs worldwide are commemorating Guru Nanak’s 550th gurpurab. In the United States, sangats are marking this historic anniversary by building bridges with their neighbors through one-day open houses.

    In addition to hosting a gurdwara open house, the Sikh Coalition encourages sangats to lead out on service projects so that neighbors, partners, and elected officials can learn the Sikh tenet of seva first-hand. If your sangat is interested in this initiative, the first step is to commit to hosting a gurdwara open house. Once your sangat commits to hosting an open house, they can choose between a meal-packing event with Rise Against Hunger, a hygiene kit-packing event with Clean the World, or a food drive or packing event with Feeding America.

    If you have any questions about organizing an open house or hosting a service project, or if you want to learn more about our national partners, please email our team at community@sikhcoalition.org. We strongly encourage you to organize early so that your event is a success!
  • Team Capacity Continues to Grow

    The Sikh Coalition is excited to announce that as of July 2019, Graham F. West joined our team as the new Media and Communications Director. In this role, he is responsible for guiding and implementing the long-term strategies that educate millions of Americans through large-scale media initiatives. Additionally, Graham manages the communications team, which contributes to every facet of the Sikh Coalition’s work.

    We are also excited to announce our newly-promoted Community Development Manager Sahej Preet Singh. Sahej was previously a Fellow in the same department since September 2018; in his new role, he is responsible for developing further community and gurdwara engagement on a national scale through grassroots efforts, and empowering community members to defend civil rights, promote interfaith solidarity, and raise Sikh awareness. He also supports the organization’s media engagement, fundraising, and the creation of Punjabi-language materials.
  • Media Engagement Reaches Millions

    The Sikh Coalition’s Media and Communications department continues working to ensure that positive Sikh stories and representation increase across U.S. news outlets.

    Since the beginning of 2019, the Sikh Coalition has generated 2,147 news hits, garnered an estimated $357,000 worth of media exposure, and reached an audience of 10 million Americans. Our work had been featured in local and national print and broadcast news outlets, including the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Oregonian, CBS Religion & Culture, Chicago Sun-Times, CNN, and more.

    We look forward to continuing to drive groundbreaking media results on behalf of Sikhs throughout the United States.
  • Empowering Sikh Communities Across California

    On July 20, 2019, the Sikh Coalition delivered a Sikh Presenter’s Course training to 45 community members in San Jose, CA. During the training, Southern California Community Development Manager Inderpreet Kaur prepared attendees on how to deliver effective presentations on the Sikh faith and community in public spaces. Afterward, each attendee practiced delivering part of the presentation to the other attendees.

    On July 27, 2019, Inderpreet joined the Southern California community for Sikh Children’s Day. Throughout the day, Inderpreet engaged 50 children with arts and crafts and shared resources to prepare Sikh parents as their kids head back to school this fall.

    Click here to view pictures from the San Jose training. Click here to view pictures from Sikh Children’s Day. If you would like the Sikh Coalition to host a training in your community, please email community@sikhcoalition.org.
  • Training Reaches 100+ Law Enforcement Officers

    Throughout July, Sikh Coalition volunteer Mandheer Singh and Advocate Harchint Singh delivered Sikh awareness trainings for more than 100 officers and detectives of the Sterling Heights Police Department in Michigan.

    These sessions follow a series of trainings for more than 100 officers at the Royal Oak Police Department in Michigan earlier this year. This kind of outreach is key to our never-ending efforts to educate law enforcement officials nationwide about Sikh practices, community, and challenges as we work with these agencies to combat and prevent hate.

    Click here to view pictures from the Sterling Heights Police Department trainings. Click here to learn more about the Royal Oak Police Department trainings.
  • Further Congressional Action Taken in Support of Immigration Detainee Rights

    On July 16, 2019, the Sikh Coalition led out on a congressional letter signed by 36 civil rights organizations that focused on our ongoing concerns about the mistreatment and deprivation of due process rights of migrants being held in ICE custody. The letter was delivered to over 60 congressional offices. The Sikh Coalition will continue to support larger coalition efforts to protect the basic rights of Sikhs and other communities inside the immigration detention system.

    Click here to learn more about the Sikh Coalition’s 2019 detention-related work.
  • Empowering Youth at Sikh Camps Nationwide

    This summer, the Sikh Coalition’s Community Development team traveled to multiple Sikh camps to conduct a series of workshops with youth. These workshops include combating discrimination in schools, creating Sikhi elevator pitches, and discussing the intersectionality of identity, bullying, and allyship.

    So far, the team has conducted workshops at Camp Gian in Los Angeles, CA; Gurdwara Sant Sagar in New York; Sikh Cultural Society in Richmond Hill, NY; Central Jersey Sikh Association in Windsor, NJ; and the 24th annual gurmat camp hosted by Guru Harkrishan Institute of Sikh Studies in Rockville, MD. Our Community Development team continues to work with Sikh youth nationwide by engaging additional camps this August.
  • Congressional Resolution Honoring Guru Nanak’s 550th Gurpurab

    On August 6, 2019, U.S. Congressman TJ Cox (D-CA), who serves as Vice Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, introduced a resolution formally recognizing the significance of Guru Nanak’s 550th gurpurab as well as more than 125 years of Sikh contributions to U.S. society. The Sikh Coalition endorsed Congressman Cox’s resolution and is grateful for his leadership.

    In 2019, the Sikh Coalition has worked with community members, legislators, and others across the United States to pass resolutions and proclamations promoting Sikh awareness. Thanks to these efforts, five states—Colorado, Utah, Connecticut, Washington, and Wisconsin—all passed their first-ever statewide resolutions, and eight additional states built on similar work from years prior. Additionally, Illinois just passed a law designating April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month. These efforts remain a key part of the Sikh Coalition’s work to make sure that elected officials at the local, state, and federal level—as well as the broader public—recognize the invaluable contributions of the Sikh community in the United States.
  • Junior Sikh Coalition Kicks Off Another Year

    This summer, the Sikh Coalition welcomed 24 youth leaders into the new Junior Sikh Coalition (JSC) class, including seven leaders from the previous class. JSC kicked off their 2019-2020 year with a series of social justice trainings and workshops hosted by Sikh Coalition staff and outside guest presenters. During the week-long bootcamp, JSC worked together to create a mission statement: To empower the youth by forging a new generation of leaders who aim to tackle the social injustices that plague our community. In addition, a reception celebrated the incoming JSC class and recognized achievements from last year’s graduating class.
  • Sikh Coalition Summer Interns Support Critical Work

    This summer, the Sikh Coalition was supported by interns, who led out on projects directly contributing to the groundbreaking civil rights work of the organization.

    We want to thank Legal Interns Mannirmal Kaur, Rachel Phillips, and Reaz Khan; Advocacy Intern Jaskeerat Singh; New York Community Development Intern Abhayvir Singh; Southern California Community Development Intern Gurjiv Kaur; and Communications Intern Jeevanjot Kapur for all of their hard work! In addition to working on projects specific to their departments, our summer interns participated in a Civil Rights Academy, where they learned about topics in the civil rights space from professionals.

    If you are interested in interning with the Sikh Coalition this fall, visit our website for a complete listing of internships and apply now!
  • Back to School Resources for Parents and Educators

    As Sikh families prepare for the new school year, the Sikh Coalition will soon launch an updated Back to School Toolkit for parents and educators. In addition to Sikh awareness presentations, anti-bullying brochures, Know Your Rights materials, and legal resources for Sikh parents, we will be adding new lesson plans, resources, and reading materials for teachers. Additionally, our Sikhism: An Educator’s Guide continues to equip educators with the tools for teaching Sikhism and provides them with a depth of valuable information regarding the Sikh community, traditions, and faith.

    These resources are a part of our multi-year efforts to create safe and inclusive classrooms for Sikh students nationwide. For more information about the Back to School Toolkit or Sikhism: An Educator’s Guide, or to discuss opportunities about how the Sikh Coalition can support you or your community in outreach efforts to educators, please contact education@sikhcoalition.org.
  • Volunteer with the Sikh Coalition!

    In July, the Sikh Coalition launched a new online form for interested volunteers. Volunteers are critical to the mission of the Sikh Coalition, and we have opportunities across various program areas for dedicated sevadaars to truly make an impact. We are looking for sevadaars, or Ambassadors, who can serve as liaisons, resources, and extensions of our team for their local sangat.

    If you believe that Sikh values can support change, and you want to join the fight for justice and equality in your local community, sign up to volunteer and become an Ambassador for the Sikh Coalition. Once you sign up, a member of our team will be in touch in a timely manner. Please note that we reach out to sevadaars on an as-needed basis, activating volunteers as projects materialize or needs arise.

In this Issue

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