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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
September 12, 2020
  • GOTV: New Resources and Upcoming Event

    In advance of the U.S. elections this fall, the Sikh Coalition continues to create and share resources to encourage Sikh Americans to vote. Have you checked your voter registration with our free tool yet? We have recently updated our information on mail-in voting to include not only each state’s deadline and process for requesting mail-in ballots, but also several safe ways for returning your ballot: you can send it back via mail more than two weeks before the election, or consider dropping it off at your election office or using a secure ballot box, depending on your state.

    This Wednesday, the Sikh Coalition will hold a virtual conversation between leading Sikh voices in public service and politics about the importance of voting this fall and how to build community power through civic engagement. The panel will feature Hoboken, NJ Mayor Ravi Bhalla; NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal; and New Haven Unified School District Elected Trustee and current candidate for Union City, CA Mayor Sarabjit Kaur Cheema. RSVP today to join us on Wednesday, September 16, from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT.

    Following this discussion, National Sikh Voter Registration Day will take place on Sunday, September 20, when sevadaars across the country will be working to check their sangat members’ voter registrations online for free. We are still recruiting sevadaars to help with voter registration efforts across the country--sign up to volunteer today.
  • Justice for Jacob Blake

    On August 23, Jacob Blake--a Black man living in Kenosha, WI--was shot seven times in the back in front of his young children by police. The investigation into his shooting is still ongoing. The officers who shot Mr. Blake are on paid leave; he is still in the hospital and paralyzed from the waist down.

    As we take inspiration from Sikh values and choose to “recognize the human race as one” (Guru Gobind Singh Ji), the Sikh Coalition continues working towards being better allies to the Black community and fighting for the civil rights of all. We asked Wisconsin sangat member Simarpreet Kaur to write a reflection on the shooting of Mr. Blake and the ongoing threat of white supremacy, and we also offered three actions that sangat members can choose to take today if they want to fight for justice.
  • Take Action on Sikhi and CA Ethnic Studies

    This month, another round of public comment opened for California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The most recent draft of the Model Curriculum excludes the Sikh community in any meaningful, positive form, despite 1,200 petition signers, 52 gurdwaras, and numerous community members speaking out since March. The Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement are calling on the California sangat to email and call the state’s Department of Education to demand that they #StopIgnoringSikhs and ensure an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that tells the stories of too-often marginalized communities like ours.

    We recognize the field of Ethnic Studies as an important opportunity for students from minority communities to see themselves and their histories reflected in the classroom. While fighting for positive Sikh representation, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement also support the efforts by other communities to be specifically represented in the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum in order to advance anti-racist education for all.
  • COVID-19 Seva Stories Reach Millions 

    The Sikh Coalition continues to work with sangats from coast to coast to highlight the seva they are doing to help their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have helped bring local and national media attention to seva initiatives taking place in 14 states, including a feature in CNN that introduced their audience of millions to sangats nationwide. Click here to read more than 50 positive local and national media stories about Sikhs and seva.

    If you or someone you know is taking part in a seva initiative in response to the pandemic, please reach out to contact@sikhcoalition.org or reply directly to this email. We are happy to brainstorm ways to help you get the positive message out.
  • Back to School: New Resources, Virtual Book Readings

    On August 17, the Sikh Coalition convened more than 100 community members for a webinar about “Sharing Sikh Stories: Creating a Kinder World Through Diverse Children’s Literature.” Featuring three children’s book authors--Raakhee Mirchandani, Supriya Kelkar, and Simran Jeet Singh--the webinar discussed the importance of diverse and inclusive children’s literature and how sharing our new classroom discussion guides with your child’s teacher can be an easy first step in raising Sikh awareness at your child’s school. Following the webinar, more than 20 community members have already accessed our opportunity to request a free virtual book reading from Raakhee or Simran Jeet in the school year--click here to do the same!

    While school looks very different for students this year, the Sikh Coalition is committed to equipping parents and teachers with the tools necessary to successfully teach about Sikhism in the classroom. Click here to access our full library of Back to School resources.
  • Final Reminder: 2020 U.S. Census

    There are just 18 days left to fill out the 2020 Census! The Sikh Coalition has been working to increase response rates for the U.S. Census in Richmond Hill, New York--an area that is traditionally very-undercounted and home to a large concentration of Sikhs. As part of these efforts, Sikh Coalition team members and volunteers have been phone banking and posting flyers at local businesses.

    It is critical that Sikh Americans record their responses to the U.S. Census so that our communities are well-funded and resourced for the next 10 years: low response rates lead to overcrowding in schools, decreased funding for infrastructure, a lack of community facilities, and more. It’s up to you to fight for your community--click here to submit your census responses, and help the rest of your sangat do so, too. In addition, we created step-by-step instructions in English and Punjabi on how to submit your census responses, as well as a video (in English and Punjabi) on potential scams as census workers go door-to-door.
  • COVID-19 Resources for the Community 

    Since March, the Sikh Coalition has been working to create and update resources in English and Punjabi to address the needs of our community in response to the pandemic. These resources address social distancing, travel restrictions, federal and state benefits and relief, employee rights, Khalsa school guidance, e-learning and cyberbullying, immigration, safety tips for taxi drivers, legal help, and more. Click here to access all of our COVID-19 resources for free.
  • Nationwide Back to School Webinars for Sikh Parents

    As students head back to school this year--whether virtually or in-person--the Sikh Coalition has been working to equip parents and educators with the tools they need to successfully teach about Sikhism in the classroom. In early August, community members from Southern California and Central Florida joined us for two separate trainings on how they can proactively reach out to their children’s schools and ensure that Sikhism is being taught in the classroom. Then, on August 30, Walnut Khalsa School parents in Southern California joined us for a Back to School forum which addressed school bullying and introduced our parent-specific Back to School resources (which now also include a fact sheet on cyberbullying).

In this Issue

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