Hate Crime Charged in Bellingham, WA
Yesterday, the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office brought forth formal charges, including a hate crime charge, in the case of an Uber passenger who physically attacked and verbally abused his observant Sikh American driver on Thursday, December 5. The driver, who retained the Sikh Coalition for pro bono legal consultation and remains anonymous as he recovers from the attack, expressed his relief at this positive development. Click here
to learn more about this case.
In light of this incident, the Sikh Coalition has updated our ‘Know Your Rights’ resource
for taxi and rideshare drivers. We also continue to provide free and confidential legal assistance to Sikhs who have been discriminated against or targeted for their religious beliefs or identity. If you believe you or somebody you know has experienced bias, bigotry, or backlash, please fill out our confidential legal intake form
or call (212) 655-3095 to speak with someone in English or Punjabi.
FBI Report Finds Anti-Sikh Hate Crimes Increased
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released its annual report regarding hate crimes in the United States on November 12, 2019. The report detailed two important and alarming trends.
Firstly, reported anti-Sikh hate crimes increased 200 percent from 2017 to 2018. Sikhs are now documented by the FBI as the third-most frequently-targeted religious group, behind the Jewish and Muslim communities.
Secondly, hate crimes are still being systematically underreported across the United States. The latest FBI data only documented 7,120 incidents, with less than 13 percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide affirmatively reporting hate crimes in their jurisdictions. Thus, there remains a significant gap between FBI hate crime data and the reality on the ground for Sikhs and other minority communities. Learn more in our press release
; read coverage in CBS News
, Oregon Public Broadcasting
, and Buzzfeed News
Thank You For Your #GivingTuesday Support; Please Help Us Reach $1.35 Million Goal
Thank you to everyone who invested in the Sikh Coalition on #GivingTuesday! Given the civil rights challenges we face today, we hope we can count on you to push the groundbreaking work we do together forward as we continue to build community power. We rely on your support to protect the right to practice your faith without fear. Give today to help us create a future with no limits for generations to come!
Further Efforts to Honor Deputy Dhaliwal’s Legacy
In October, the Houston Police Department honored Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal by changing its uniform policy to allow Sikhs and other religious minorities to wear their articles of faith while in uniform. As a result, the Houston Police Department is now the second-largest police department nationwide to accommodate Sikhs. Read coverage of the policy change in the Houston Chronicle
In December, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) introduced legislation to honor Deputy Dhaliwal’s memory by renaming a Houston post office in his honor. The Sikh Coalition supported Congresswoman Fletcher in drafting this legislation and endorses its hopeful passage. Take action now by joining more than 200 community members nationwide in sending a thank you note
to Congresswoman Fletcher for introducing this legislation.
to learn more about the Sikh Coalition's work to support efforts honoring Deputy Dhaliwal.
Sevadaar Video Stories Feature Sikhs Nationwide
This year, the Sikh Coalition marked International Volunteer Day
by releasing our “Sikhs in Seva” series. “Sikhs in Seva” spotlights sevadaars
around the United States who are making an impact in their communities. As Sikhs continue to gain visibility, the Sikh Coalition recognizes the importance of championing sevadaars
at the local level who are changing lives through seva. Click here
to watch all five episodes of the “Sikhs in Seva” series.
If you are interested in creating change in your community, the Sikh Coalition can help you get started through opportunities to volunteer. From hosting gurdwara open houses to giving Sikh awareness presentations and contacting legislators to staffing different events, sevadaars
are critical to the mission of the Sikh Coalition. Sign up to volunteer today.
On December 5, 2019, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police featured former Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy and members of the Sikh community at their Mid-Year Meeting. Raghuvinder Singh, whose father Baba Punjab Singh was injured in the August 2012 Oak Creek gurdwara shooting, honored former Lieutenant Murphy with a canvas by a Sikh artist as well as a book featuring portraits of Sikh subjects. Read coverage in Darpan Magazine
The Sikh Coalition continues to help sangats from coast to coast engage their local law enforcement, whether via training individual community members to give Sikh awareness presentations to their police departments or undertaking larger state-wide training efforts
. This proactive outreach is critical to strengthening the bonds between Sikh Americans and their neighbors in law enforcement—bonds that are exemplified by the service and sacrifice of heroes like former Lieutenant Murphy
Take Action: Pennsylvania Hate Crime Bills
For months, the Sikh Coalition has been working with the Pennsylvania General Assembly to guide several bills that address hate crimes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These bills will modernize Pennsylvania’s hate crime laws to better protect all citizens, including the Commonwealth’s growing Sikh population. So far, more than 275 Pennsylvanians have contacted their elected officials to support these measures so that we can all be better protected against acts of hate.
If you live in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, fill out this form
to send a letter in support of these bills to your elected officials. Please also share this petition with your family and friends across the Commonwealth.
Join the fight for civil rights! The Sikh Coalition is hiring for one full-time position based in our New York City headquarters. The Media and Communications Manager
will be responsible for providing direct support to the Sikh Coalition’s earned, placed, and digital media work. Please click here
to apply today.
550th Gurpurab Celebrations from Coast to Coast
Since October, the Sikh Coalition has supported more than 30 sangats
from coast to coast as they hosted open houses, organized larger community events, and dedicated service projects in celebration of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji’s 550th gurpurab. Local media turned out to cover events in Santa Ana, CA
; Lexington, KY
; Irving, TX
; Norwalk, CT
; Oklahoma City, OK
; Bloomington, MN
; and Fort Wayne, IN
The Sikh Coalition is excited to continue strengthening our relationships with these and other sangats in the coming year as we work to help all Sikh Americans build bridges within their local communities. Efforts to increase the kind of positive Sikh awareness that will make for a safer, happier future for our children start at the local level.
California Ends Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month Celebration
We have many exciting highlights to share from California Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month in November!
In addition to securing the eighth consecutive California Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month proclamation, the Sikh Coalition worked with city councils and school districts to secure local Sikh awareness proclamations, including in Davis, CA
, and the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
in Solano County, CA.
With community leadership and support, we also reached Californians through Sikh awareness presentations and outreach events. We worked with community leaders to deliver Sikh awareness presentations to more than 5,000 students in schools across the state, and led 10 anti-bullying workshops at gurdwaras in Southern California where the sangat learned how to address bullying and leverage resources the Sikh Coalition provides.
Washington Hate Crime Advisory Task Force Presentation
On December 5, 2019, the Sikh Coalition was invited to present to Washington’s newly-established hate crime advisory task force, which is working to combat the epidemic of hate crimes across the state. Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy Sim J. Singh presented findings of anti-Sikh hate crimes nationwide, trends impacting the Washington Sikh community, and recommendations on how to improve hate crime enforcement.
The Sikh Coalition looks forward to continuing to work with the task force in 2020, as the force plans to introduce legislation in the state of Washington that can better protect Sikhs and other minority communities against hate crimes.
Training Teachers in Texas and California
On November 9, 2019, Sikh Coalition Board Member Manpreet K. Singh trained 20 teachers
from the Houston Independent School District in Texas. She delivered a Sikh awareness presentation and provided our Sikhism Educator’s Guides and additional teaching materials on Sikhism. Manpreet also explained the Sikh response to the September 2019 shooting of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was killed during a routine traffic stop in Houston.
On November 20, 2019, Sikh Coalition Social Justice Fellow Winty Singh led a Sikh awareness presentation for more than 25 educators from the Elk Grove School District in California. The educators learned about the Sikh faith, community, and traditions, and how to use Sikh Coalition resources for teaching about Sikhism in the classroom.
These presentations are part of the Sikh Coalition’s ongoing efforts to support educators and ensure that Sikhism is taught accurately in classrooms nationwide. If you are interested in training educators in your school district, please email our team at email@example.com
Informing Educators at the National Social Studies Conference
In November, more than 4,000 teachers gathered in Austin, TX, for the National Council for the Social Studies
annual conference. Sikh Project portraits on display were a great conversation starter as Sikh Coalition staff and volunteers shared our Sikhism Educator’s Guides, lesson plans, and tips for teaching Sikhism with educators from around the nation. Additionally, Education Director Pritpal Kaur led a breakout session on teaching about Sikhism through inquiry with Dr. Kathy Swan, co-founder of C3 Teachers. Thank you to all of our volunteers: Lakhpreet Kaur, Sukhdeep Kaur, Isha Kaur, Princepal Dhillon, and Mandeep Kaur!
Civil Rights Learning Journey in Alabama
This week, Legal Director Amrith Kaur participated in the Racial Justice Learning Journey in Montgomery, AL. Representing the Sikh Coalition, Amrith joined many other civil rights leaders to understand the historical context of slavery, lynching, and anti-Black racism afforded by the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The learning journey also connected these themes to the history of racial and economic justice organizing in the South, as well as to present-day issues facing communities in the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian space, including the Sikh community.
In this Issue