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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
May 15, 2021
  • Investigation into Indianapolis FedEx Shooting

    On April 15, a gunman killed eight people and injured several others at a FedEx ground facility in Indianapolis, IN. Four Sikhs were among the eight killed; we mourn their loss, along with the other four individuals killed, and stand with those whose lives have been forever impacted by this tragedy.

    In response to the shooting, the Sikh Coalition continues to coordinate with the Indianapolis sangat and support those impacted by the tragedy, including providing critical and free legal assistance, connecting sangat members with mental health resources, engaging local and national U.S. press, and providing assistance with community events. Last week, we also convened a meeting with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, and local Sikh community leaders to underscore the need for a thorough investigation of the shooting, including the possibility of bias as a motivation. Click here to learn more about this work, including why we are pushing law enforcement for a full and meticulous investigation.

    The Sikh Coalition will continue to provide further updates about the ongoing investigation as they become available. We remain thankful to all in the community who have stepped up to support the Indianapolis sangat in their time of need. If you are looking for ways to support the sangat or have suggestions for resources, please reach out to contact@sikhcoalition.org.
  • Legal Update: April 26 Attack in Brooklyn, NY

    The Sikh Coalition wanted to provide an update with regards to the violent attack on Sumit Ahluwalia in Brooklyn, NY. On April 26, Mr. Ahluwalia was attacked by an assailant in the lobby of the hotel in which Mr. Ahluwalia works. After a heated exchange–in which the attacker told Mr. Ahluwalia that they were not brothers and they didn’t have the “same skin”–the attacker struck Mr. Ahluwalia’s turbaned head with a hammer, knocking him unconscious, and fled the scene.

    Following the attack, Mr. Ahluwalia immediately retained the Sikh Coalition to provide free legal counsel. On May 4, the NYPD arrested a suspect in connection with his case; we remain in close touch with investigators and are committed to learning all of the facts as they emerge before calling for hate crime charges to be filed. Click here to learn more.
  • U.S.-India COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

    On April 30, President Biden issued a proclamation restricting entry into the United States of certain nonimmigrant travelers who have been physically present in India. These restrictions went into effect on May 4 at 12:01 AM EDT; the full rules around these restrictions are here.

    This proclamation will remain in effect until terminated by President Biden. Thirty days after the proclamation, and then at the end of every calendar month, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra will recommend whether the president should continue, modify, or terminate this proclamation.

    Click here to access the Sikh Coalition’s full library of free COVID-19 vaccine resources on our website; please make sure to also review the rest of our pandemic resources here.
  • Pushing for Workplace Equality during COVID-19

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Sikh Coalition has been at the forefront of the fight to protect religious rights in the workplace. As part of these efforts, Legal Director Amrith Kaur testified before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about the civil rights challenges for the Sikh community brought on by the pandemic–including the issue of personal protective equipment (PPE) accommodations for individuals who maintain kesh. Following the testimony, the Sikh Coalition was engaged by the EEOC and the Illinois Human Rights Commission to provide Title VII seminars and training specific to religious discrimination in the workplace, particularly those emerging during the pandemic.
  • Addressing Anti-AAPI Hate

    The Sikh Coalition joined two events in May addressing the serious, documented rise in anti-AAPI hate and bias incidents nationwide. Firstly, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy Sim J. Singh provided remarks on the history of hate against the AAPI community and the parallels of discrimination faced by Sikhs since the late 1800s in the United States at a national convening against anti-AAPI hate hosted by Attorney General Tong of Connecticut, Attorney General Racine of Washington, D.C., and the Attorney General Alliance.

    Secondly, Legal Director Amrith Kaur joined a panel discussion hosted by Womankind, 1882 Foundation, and other organizations on the key moments and policies that set the stage for violence in its complex forms within AAPI communities.
  • Vaisakhi Campaign Raises Sikh Awareness

    The Sikh Coalition worked with bipartisan Congressional offices to spread Sikh awareness by celebrating Vaisakhi on their social media platforms, reaching Americans across the country. Officials shared 50+ posts on Twitter alone on April 14, 2021.

    In addition, the Sikh Coalition worked to facilitate interviews for this Associated Press piece reporting how sangat members from California to Kansas to New York celebrated Vaisakhi during the pandemic. This work is part of our never-ending efforts to raise Sikh awareness and ensure accurate reporting of the Sikh faith, community, and traditions in local and national U.S. press outlets. 
  • Engaging Elected Officials Nationwide

    In the last month, the Sikh Coalition’s Policy and Advocacy team has engaged elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels on multiple issue areas.

    On April 13, the Sikh Coalition joined civil rights partners to raise Sikh community concerns with the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding hate crimes and employment discrimination. In addition to making concrete policy recommendations to address the rise in anti-Asian hate crime, we separately reiterated our concerns regarding the ongoing challenges that Sikhs face in obtaining appropriate accommodations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We will continue to work with the DOJ to hold all appropriate agencies accountable for better preventing hate and ending employment discrimination.

    On April 21, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy Sim J. Singh participated in a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Center for American Progress and the McCain Institute for International Leadership, where he presented perspectives on how to end the white supremacist violence targeting impacted communities, including Sikhs.

    Finally, the Sikh Coalition enjoyed several opportunities to raise Sikh awareness over the course of April. This included Policy and Advocacy Manager Nikki Singh sharing remarks at the first-ever virtual Vaisakhi celebration hosted by Michigan elected officials and a Sikh awareness presentation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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