Ongoing Support for Farmers Protest
Since the end of November, protesters from the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and elsewhere have travelled to the outskirts of Delhi, India to protest three farm laws that will worsen the already harsh ecological and economic conditions in which they live. These farmers, seeking only to demonstrate peacefully and defend their livelihoods, were met first with dismissal–and then with violence and repression–from the Indian government. The Sikh Coalition stands with Sikhs across the United States and around the world in solidarity with these farmers as they continue to advocate for their rights, dignity, and justice.
On December 3, the Sikh Coalition sent letters
to several congressional committees to request that they join the growing chorus condemning the Indian government’s undemocratic response to the protests; subsequently, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Co-Chair of the American Sikh Caucus, sent a letter
to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu. On December 7, we also launched a tool enabling anyone to send a message to their representative and senators in the U.S. Congress
educating them about the farmers’ protest and urging them to condemn the Indian government’s response. Finally, we continue to provide media support to journalists writing about these issues as well as efforts by Sikh Americans to call attention to the situation in India, including by pushing for extensive media coverage of the Kisaan Solidarity Rally in the Bay Area of California on December 5 and other demonstrations elsewhere. You can review all of this work here
, and contact your members of Congress here
Social Justice Virtual Summit Concludes
From December 5 to 6, more than 80 passionate community members joined the conversation on social justice, activism, and allyship during the Sikh Coalition’s Social Justice Virtual Summit
. Through the summit, participants learned from leaders, activists, and national experts on a myriad of racial and social justice issues, and how this rising generation of Sikh leaders can build allyship with other communities.
The intensive weekend summit also featured workshops that examined voter suppression, structural racism in a COVID-19 world, lessons for movement building from the LGBTQ+ community, and sessions that explored how Sikhi impacts activism and allyship. We are immensely grateful to all of our attendees, and especially to the presenters who joined us from inside and outside the community to share their expertise! To review the full lineup from the weekend, click here
Thank You for Your Support!
The Sikh Coalition is deeply grateful to everyone who took action on and since #GivingTuesday, December 1, to support our end-of-year fundraising efforts! We are prepared to continue serving the community--both by furthering our core civil rights work and responding to new challenges and opportunities, from the pandemic to politics--in 2021, but we need your support and dasvandh to do so
We are also proud to share that we have published our 2020 Year In Review newsletter
, an annual summary of our advocacy, community development, education, legal, and media work. 2020 has proven to be one of the most important and transformative years in our two decades of fighting for Sikh civil rights. You can see what all we’ve accomplished together this year here
Measure to Rename Post Office After Fallen Sikh Deputy Advances
On December 3, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed H. Res. 5317, a resolution that would rename a post office in Houston, Texas, after the late Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. This follows the September 14 passage
of this resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, where it was originally introduced by Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX).
The Sikh Coalition, which worked with Congresswoman Fletcher on the original resolution and encouraged its passage in the Senate by working with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX), applauds this bipartisan progress. The resolution now goes to President Trump’s desk to be signed.
Deadly Hate Crimes Increase in Latest FBI Statistics
On November 16, the FBI released their annual hate crime statistics report, covering data from the year 2019. Extremely low reporting continues to fail to capture the scope of the bias, bigotry, and backlash that Sikhs face, and our community remains disproportionately targeted relative to its small size among the population. Moreover, the overall number of hate crime offenses reached a 10 year high, and deadly hate crimes jumped to the highest reported number since the FBI began publicly reporting these statistics.
This year, analysis from the Sikh Coalition’s policy and advocacy team was featured in pieces by CNN
, CBS News
, the Huffington Post
, and Voice of America
; Sikh Coalition Policy and Advocacy Manager Nikki Singh also appeared on a local CBS affiliate
in Virginia to discuss the report.
Phone Banking for the GA Senate Runoffs
Over the next few weeks, Georgia is holding two critical, statewide U.S. Senate runoff elections. A runoff is a rematch that is held when none of the candidates meet the criteria for winning; in Georgia, if no candidate gets 50% of the votes or more, the top two vote-earners then face off again. One runoff features Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock; the other pits Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff.
Following our successful effort to phone bank Sikh voters in nine key ‘swing’ states before the fall elections, the Sikh Coalition is once again recruiting sevadaars to deliver critical, nonpartisan information to Sikh voters in Georgia. The outcome of these runoff elections will determine the balance of power in Washington for the next two years, so it is imperative that the Sikh voice be heard! This phone banking will take place later this month in advance of Georgia’s Election Day on January 5, 2021. For more information, visit our website
Comprehensive Engagement in Anti-Bullying Month
Throughout October and November, the Sikh Coalition continued to adapt to differing levels of virtual and in-person learning across the nation as we continued to work towards safer, more inclusive classrooms. In lieu of attending social studies conferences in person, the Sikh Coalition’s education team held virtual teacher trainings in school districts across New Jersey, Michigan, and Georgia; in addition, we continue connecting Sikh parents and educators for free, virtual readings of Raakhee Mirchandani’s Super Satya Saves the Day
and Simran Jeet Singh’s Fauja Singh Keeps Going
If you are a parent or student interested in spreading meaningful Sikh awareness in your local school district, please email email@example.com
to get started!
Sikh Awareness Presentations in Schools
Sikh Coalition team members continue to work to ensure that Sikhi is included in classrooms and is taught correctly and accurately. For the third consecutive school year, we were invited back to the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District in New York to talk about Sikhi to students in the 9th grade. Sikh Coalition staff and sevadaars delivered 19 virtual Sikh Awareness Presentations to individual high school Social Studies classes over three days during the week of November 16.
On December 3, the Elk Grove Unified School District in California also invited back our Advocacy and Community Engagement Fellow Winty Singh to facilitate a Sikh Awareness Presentation for elementary and secondary school teachers, who learned about Sikh values, our community, and resources that can help them teach effectively about Sikhi in their classrooms. The presentation was attended by more than 35 teachers.
Tanzin v. Tanvir Decided by SCOTUS
On December 10, the U.S. Supreme Court determined in Tanzin v. Tanvir that monetary damages may be awarded against federal officials in their individual capacity for violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This decision is a great step in ensuring that religious liberties are protected, and that those whose rights are violated will be adequately compensated!
The Sikh Coalition had previously partnered with the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic to file an amicus brief in support of this position, and we are thrilled to learn that the Supreme Court agreed. Read Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur’s explainer of this important case here
Legal Director Addresses Panel on Diversity and Race
On November 19, Legal Director Amrith Kaur participated in an online panel entitled "Diversity and Race 103: What We Have Learned and What Comes Next." This session, hosted by the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, was the final in a series of three discussions of diversity and race in the legal profession. The conversation focused on how implicit bias and systemic racism manifest in the workplace and what organizations can do to combat racism and create more diverse, equal, and inclusive work environments.
COVID-19 Resources Still Available
In the early days of December, the United States surpassed overall hospitalization and single-day death total records compared to last April, when the pandemic was at its first peak. Regrettably, public health officials continue to forecast dire times ahead. The Sikh Coalition’s COVID-19 resources (including recommendations on social distancing
and our healthcare guide
for doctors, nurses, and other providers about the needs of Sikh patients) are still available for free on our website
In this Issue