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The Sikh Coalition News
January 15, 2021
  • Remaining Vigilant Through Inauguration Day (January 20)

    January 15, 2021 (New York, NY) -- In the wake of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and the reported heightened risk of nationwide security concerns in advance of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, the Sikh Coalition urges all community members to be hyper-vigilant in the days ahead.

    Specifically, the FBI issued a bulletin this week warning that “armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” and that “[an] identified group is also planning to 'storm' government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state ... on 20 January.”

    The Sikh Coalition does not share these threats to cause unnecessary alarm, but to inform you of reported dangers and to help ensure that all community members take necessary precautions. No one, regardless of their political views, deserves to be targeted, and bias-related crimes are a heightened concern in these moments--especially for marginalized communities who are often subject to discrimination.

    Below are some safety tips that we originally shared in advance of Election Day 2020, amended for the current situation.

    Take Extra Care: For personal safety, it is critical to always be aware of your surroundings. If possible, it is advisable to avoid state and federal government buildings between now and January 20. Expected among the protestors are white nationalist extremists who have a documented pattern of provoking and attacking counter-protestors to ‘muddy the waters’ of any incident and engage in further violence.

    Report Hate Incidents: If you or someone you know experiences hate violence, bias-based property damage, hate vandalism, or threats thereof, immediately seek safety and medical attention if necessary and call law enforcement as soon as possible to report the incident. Please be aware that law enforcement should not ask you about your immigration status; in the event that they do, you have the right to not answer this question. Please contact the Sikh Coalition at 212-655-3095 or fill out our reporting form immediately after the incident as well. We can provide free and confidential consultation with experienced attorneys in both English and Punjabi.

    Know Your Rights: Download our FAQ guide on hate crimes and hate speech and learn how to report incidents to authorities and the Sikh Coalition. Our hate crime poster can be displayed at your gurdwara or emailed to the sangat, and is available in both English and Punjabi. Additionally, we provide educational brochures that serve as an introduction to the Sikh faith, community, and traditions; this resource is available in 18 different languages. To receive free copies of any of our available resources, please email us at community@sikhcoalition.org.

    Ensure Your Gurdwara is Secure: Since 2017, nearly 80 different gurdwaras have worked with the Sikh Coalition to take proactive steps to make their gurdwaras safer. You can review our Gurdwara Security Toolkit here; we are also hosting a gurdwara security webinar, with information specific to the California sangat, this Saturday. Ask your gurdwara if they have already participated in a free security consultation. If they haven’t, please have a gurdwara committee member email us at community@sikhcoalition.org.

    Share This Information: Finally, please forward this email to your immediate family and friends. Encourage them to sign up for the Sikh Coalition’s email alerts so that they can continue to receive related updates on resources and information. Then, take the next easy step and post this information to your social media accounts. It is critical that we disseminate this information to every sangat member so that if a hate crime or bias-motivated incident happens, they know we are here to provide free and confidential legal resources.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

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