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Dear Supporter Ji,

When my son Akashdeep was a young boy, I made the decision to enroll him in one of the most diverse schools in the country because I wanted him to thrive in his education. But as he grew older, his classmates and teachers bullied him because he looked different.

I was proud of my son for keeping his roop, but he was going to school in an environment where he didn’t feel safe. Other students and teachers would refer to him as a “girl” and a “terrorist” because they didn’t understand why he wore a patka. On top of that, the school wasn’t taking enough steps to resolve the issue. It came to a point where Akashdeep considered cutting his hair in order to stop the bullying.

It was then that I realized that this problem was bigger than us, and if I was going to help my son, I needed support. Thanks to supporters like you, the Sikh Coalition was there for us.

In 2013, I contacted the Sikh Coalition and they immediately began fighting for a safer environment for Akashdeep. Earlier this year, he then ended up sharing with others how he turned this debilitating experience into a catalyst for growth in an interview with CBS Religion and Culture’s special “Religion and Identity in Young America.” To my surprise, Akashdeep sharing his story empowered me to share mine too–with you.

But now I want you to focus on the Sikh Coalition’s story.

The Sikh Coalition takes in more than 150 legal cases every year. Of all of those cases, we in the community only hear about a few of them. But I do know that in the 2017-2018 school year, the Sikh Coalition received more legal intakes related to school bullying than in the previous two years combined. When Akashdeep was being bullied, the Sikh Coalition provided critical legal support and emotional empowerment to our family--and they’re doing the same for other Sikh kids across the country.

That is why I ask you to consider donating to the Sikh Coalition today. They were there for my family, and they will be there for yours too. The story of bullying in American schools is rarely told, and the CBS episode featuring Akashdeep highlighted this problem. I hope that it will continue to inspire other youth to know they are not alone, and I hope our story inspires you to know the Sikh Coalition is there if you should ever need them.

Chardi Kala,
Dapinder Kaur

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