FlyRights Updated for Sikh Travelers
Last month, the Sikh Coalition was proud to re-launch an updated version of FlyRights
, which allows Sikh travelers to report instances of discrimination and harassment by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at U.S. airports. Since its initial launch in 2012, thousands of Sikh travelers have used FlyRights to share their experiences, which allows us to provide critical feedback to the TSA and identify which airports need further training.
to learn how you can file a complaint via your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. We also urge those with travel plans to review the Sikh Coalition’s TSA: Know Your Rights Guide
, which is vetted by the TSA and is compatible with the latest TSA screening procedures and regulations.
Updates on the #FarmersProtest
On November 29, 2021, the Indian Parliament passed a bill to repeal the three farm laws at the center of the #FarmersProtest. This action came 10 days after Indian Prime Minister Modi announced his government would repeal the laws. In response, the farmers have vowed to continue their demonstrations until the government passes meaningful reforms made in partnership with them. While protest leaders announced this past Thursday that a majority of the farmers protesting on the outskirts of Delhi would begin heading home, leaders acknowledge that the fight for sustainable change is far from over. Outstanding concerns about the country’s agricultural system remain top of mind for protesting farmers, and while the Indian government has "agreed, at least in principle," to discuss and resolve major concerns, some protestors will continue to camp at the Delhi border until January 15, 2022, when leaders will gather once again to deliberate on the future of the movement.
Last year, farmers from the states of Punjab, Haryana, and elsewhere began their demonstrations to oppose the three laws, arguing they worsened the already harsh ecological and economic conditions in which they lived. Within several weeks of the original demonstrations in their local states, up to one million protestors gathered on the outskirts of Delhi in November 2020. The 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. While the protestors remained resilient in the face of brutality, censorship, and other repressive tactics aimed at silencing their right to protest, more than 600 farmers lost their lives in the last year.
to learn more about the Sikh Coalition’s advocacy work to raise awareness and spur action on the #FarmersProtest in the United States.
Building Greater Capacity in Our Education Work
The Sikh Coalition is building our capacity to deliver high-impact education results on behalf of the community. We are excited to announce Harman Singh
as our new Senior Manager of Education! In this role, he will oversee the education program area, including reviewing and creating educational content and resources about the Sikh faith, community, and traditions. He will also work to advance the Sikh Coalition’s multi-year advocacy campaign to include Sikhism in state social studies standards and curricula, ensuring that our faith is taught in public school classrooms across the United States and that teaching materials are accurate. Click here
to learn more about Harman’s work.
Thank You for Your #GivingTuesday Support!
Thank you to everyone who invested in the Sikh Coalition on #GivingTuesday!
Given the civil rights challenges we face today, your support is critical to pushing the groundbreaking work we do together forward as we continue to build community power and protect the right to practice your faith without fear. With your investment, you can help us
add new attorneys to our team, mobilize larger advocacy initiatives, deepen relationships with gurdwaras throughout the United States, and more. All of this work is possible--but it doesn’t happen unless we exceed our year-end fundraising goal of $1.2 million. If you haven’t already, give today to help us create a future with no limits for generations to come!
To learn more about the Sikh Coalition’s work in 2021, download our Year in Review.
Welcoming New Board Members, Legal Advisory Committee
In November, the Sikh Coalition welcomed two new members to our Board of Trustees: Nitasha Kaur Sawhney
is an Equity Partner in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area offices of Garcia Hernández Sawhney LLP, and Gurpreet Singh Ahuja
is the Division Chief of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery with CHOC Children’s Specialists as well as a Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of California, Irvine. We look forward to the guidance and vision that they will bring as we all look toward the continued growth of the organization and the next 20 years of our work.
In addition, we recently welcomed our Legal Advisory Committee (LAC), a dedicated group of attorneys who provide guidance and assistance to our legal team in the course of their pro bono work. We are grateful to this group of outstanding attorneys for generously donating their time to the LAC:
- Deepak Ahluwalia, Founder and Managing Partner at Singh Ahluwalia Immigration Law Firm
- Jasmeet K. Ahuja, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP
- Ruby Kaur, Founder and Managing Partner at Kaur Law PLLC
- Renita Khanduja, Counsel at WilmerHale
- Anjan Sahni, Partner-in-Charge at WilmerHale
- Charan Sandhu, Partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
- Amandeep S. Sidhu, Partner at Winston & Strawn LLP
Continuing to Fight for Sikhi in Minnesota’s State Standards
On November 15, 2021, the third draft of Minnesota’s K-12 Social Studies Standards and Benchmarks was released. This document determines what children learn in Minnesota’s public schools. Following relentless advocacy from the Sikh Coalition, the Sikh Society of Minnesota, and our interfaith allies, Sikhi is now included in the middle school section--but we are still missing from the high school section.
The Sikh Society of Minnesota and the Sikh Coalition are now pushing for Sikh inclusion in the high school section and are also working with interfaith groups to urge the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to put in a benchmark that has students examine religion as a contemporary part of identity rather than just a series of historical events. In the past few weeks, we have provided feedback to the MDE via letters and virtual meetings, and we thank the more than 100 sangat members who have already submitted additional public comments. We look forward to sharing more advocacy work soon.
Providing Media Support to NBC Show
NBC featured a Southern California-based Sikh family in Ava DuVernay’s latest show, Home Sweet Home. In the episode, the Singh family shares how they practice their Sikhi while learning about new traditions from a Jewish family. The Sikh Coalition was honored to help facilitate the Singh family’s participation in Home Sweet Home as part of our ongoing work to raise the Sikh profile in the media. You can watch the episode for free via NBC’s Peacock app.
Updated COVID-19 Information: Travel Restrictions and ‘Booster’ Shots
In light of the new Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, the Biden Administration continues to release new information and updated policies.
In the first week of December, the president announced that all inbound international travelers--regardless of nationality or vaccination status--will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test within one day of departure for the United States starting December 6, 2021. Additionally, the federal masking mandate that required everyone to wear masks in airports, on trains, or while using public transportation will remain in effect until March 18, 2022. On November 29, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control also recommended that everyone who has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 receive an additional ‘booster’ dose.
to access the Sikh Coalition’s full library of free COVID-19 vaccine resources on our website, including English and Punjabi-language versions of our fact sheet on ‘booster’ shots; please make sure to also review the rest of our pandemic resources here
In this Issue