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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
October 10, 2020
  • GOTV Work Continues

    We’re less than a month away from Election Day 2020, and the Sikh Coalition is continuing our work to encourage every Sikh American to vote this fall!

    On September 17, we launched a first-of-its-kind initiative to help sevadaars call 25,000 Sikh voters across nine key “swing” states and share critical, nonpartisan election information with them. Since then, more than 150 sevadaars have joined us for this phone banking work. There is still one more session--Saturday, October 17, from 2 to 5 PM EDT--for you to join; we’re working to recruit 100 sevadaars for that day alone, so fill out our form to sign up today!

    On September 16, we also hosted three Sikh leaders in politics and public policy--Mayor Ravi Bhalla of Hoboken, NJ; Manpreet Kaur Teji, Associate Counsel for U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL); and Elected Trustee Sarabjit Kaur Cheema of the New Haven Unified School District in Union City, CA--for a digital discussion entitled ਸਾਡੀ ਆਵਾਜ਼ ਸੁਣੋ: Your Vote is Your Voice. Our panelists discussed how voting and other civic engagement is the key to effecting change and building the Sikh community’s political power. You can watch the entire session here.
  • October is National Bullying Prevention Month

    The Sikh Coalition is marking October as National Bullying Prevention Month. As part of these efforts, we are working to equip parents with bullying prevention resources and empowering them to take the first step in raising Sikh awareness in their child’s classroom.

    Click here to download bullying prevention resources including anti-bullying brochures for parents and kids, a factsheet on cyberbullying, and a step-by-step guide for parents on how to take action if you determine your child is being bullied at school. In addition, parents can still request free virtual book readings for their child’s classroom from the authors of children’s books with Sikh characters! More than 25 parents have already signed up--click here to request a virtual book reading and help raise Sikh awareness at your child’s school. 
  • House Resolution to Name Houston Post Office for Late Deputy Dhaliwal

    On September 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 5317, which would rename a post office in Houston, TX the Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office. The Sikh Coalition, which consulted with Deputy Dhaliwal’s family and worked with Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) to honor Deputy Dhaliwal’s service, supports this bipartisan act and looks forward to the Senate hopefully passing the resolution by the end of the year.

    Deputy Dhaliwal was killed during a traffic stop in northwest Houston, TX on September 27, 2019. For the past year, the Sikh Coalition has been working alongside Texas lawmakers, Houston community leaders, and the Dhaliwal family to recognize Deputy Dhaliwal’s legacy and impact on the Houston community. 
  • Sikh Coalition Continues to Lead on Securing Sikh Medical Professionals’ PPE

    This month, we continued to build on our previous work with the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association (NASMDA) to advise Sikh medical professionals of their right to personal protective equipment (PPE) that works with their articles of faith. Direct Relief, a California-based non-profit, provided the Sikh Coalition a donation of 23 PAPRs for Sikh healthcare professionals in need of urgent assistance and with limited resources. We also worked with Direct Relief on a feature piece, which tells the story of how one of our clients fought to maintain his religious rights in the workplace.

    While these donations are not permanent fixes–given that it is an employer’s responsibility to provide their staff with the appropriate PPE–they will be used to help Sikh healthcare professionals facing long wait times and resource shortages as they work on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. In the meantime, the Sikh Coalition will continue to provide free legal advice and resources to any Sikh healthcare professional who is being told they need to shave (due to the pandemic or otherwise).
  • SCOTUS Amicus Brief Filed with Stanford Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic

    On October 6, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Tanzin v. Tanvir, a case revolving around whether or not the Religious Freedom Restoration Act entitles those who face religious discrimination by the federal government to monetary damages. The Sikh Coalition partnered with Stanford Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic to file an amicus brief--a document that provides additional information and perspective--to make sure the Sikh voice was heard on this issue. You can read a note from our Legal Director, Amrith Kaur, explaining the case and how it affects Sikh Americans who face discrimination here.
  • 700+ Sikhs and 25 Legislators Speak Out on CA Ethnic Studies

    On September 30, the second round of public comment on California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) concluded. Throughout the month, more than 700 Sikh Californians took the time to contact the state’s Department of Education to tell them to #StopIgnoringSikhs; thank you for taking action!

    The Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement submitted our own public comment to several state education authorities--along with a bipartisan letter, signed by 25 assemblymembers and state senators, supporting our push for a Sikh lesson plan in the ESMC. We also published a piece in CalMatters urging allies to come forward and join us in this fight. We will provide further updates on the ESMC when the relevant committee meets later this fall.
  • Orangevale Forum on Addressing Hate

    On September 17, the Sikh Coalition, in partnership with Sacramento community leaders, hosted a virtual community forum on combating hate. During the meeting, the Sacramento Police Department, County Sheriff’s Department, County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice, and Federal Bureau of Investigation provided updates on ongoing investigations in the January 2020 vandalism of a gurdwara in Orangevale and the continued monitoring of white nationalists in the area. They also discussed how their various law enforcement offices interact to work on issues of hate crimes and other bias-motivated incidents in general. All of them stressed the need to immediately and thoroughly report incidents.

    If you or someone you know has experienced a hate incident, please reach out to our legal team here. If you experienced discrimination but do not require legal help at this time, visit ReportHate.org to share your story.
  • Responding to Hate in Colorado

    On September 17, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy Sim J. Singh and Policy and Advocacy Manager Nikki Singh joined a hate crimes forum hosted by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service. Following the April 29 assault of Lakhwant Singh in Lakewood, CO--where Mr. Singh was repeatedly told to “go back to your country” and struck by a vehicle--this forum was scheduled to inform Colorado Sikh community members about local, state, and federal responses to hate crimes. The Sikh Coalition remains committed to building long-term solutions that prioritize the safety and well-being of Sikh Americans nationwide.
  • Sikh Coalition Provides Public Comment to California Agency

    On September 21, Advocacy and Community Engagement Fellow Winty Singh provided public comment on how bias-motivated crimes impact the Sikh community to California’s Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH). Charged with enforcing California’s civil rights, DFEH will use Winty’s remarks as one of the many testimonies informing its future reports on hate crimes.
  • More Media Support for Sangats Nationwide

    Sangats nationwide continue to step up and aid their communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Sikh Coalition continues to work alongside many of these sangats to help them share their stories of seva with news outlets, including:

    • A Sikh youth group in St. Louis, MO, which has supported low-income families through food drives;
    • A gurdwara in Tampa, FL, which has served hundreds of meals weekly;
    • Several gurdwaras in Houston, TX, which worked together for months to collect food for the Houston Food Bank;
    • A gurdwara in Oviedo, FL, which held a blood drive recently in addition to their normal hot meal distribution; and
    • A humanitarian group in Tracy, CA, which has distributed PPE to truck drivers. 

    Click here to read more about the 55+ positive media stories we have secured about Sikhs and seva in local and national news outlets!
  • 2020 Census Deadline Extended

    The deadline to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census has been extended through October 31. Don’t wait -- fill out the U.S. Census today at www.my2020census.gov. It takes less than 10 minutes to send in your responses online, and you can refer to these step-by-step instructions in English and Punjabi to know where to write-in “Sikh” if you choose to do so.

    Remember, the census takes place every 10 years and counts people where they live. The U.S. Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security Number or any personal financial information or payment. The census also does not ask for any citizenship or immigration status-related information, and the Census Bureau is prohibited from sharing personal information with other government offices (including Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Fill out the census today and make sure your community is counted!
  • COVID-19 Resources in English and Punjabi

    Sikh families and others across the nation and around the world continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With recent news reports signaling rising COVID-19 cases in many U.S. states, the Sikh Coalition continues to produce and update resources in response to our community’s needs during this time. Click here to access all of our COVID-19 resources in English and Punjabi.
  • Sikh Coalition Joins AAPI Civil Rights Panel

    On September 21, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy Sim J. Singh joined a panel hosted by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) to discuss current civil rights issues facing the AAPI community--including racial profiling and hate crimes--and potential legislative solutions. Thank you to APAICS for inviting us to speak, and to the other esteemed panelists with the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Japanese American Citizens League, Muslim Advocates, and Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.

In this Issue

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