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The Sikh Coalition News
March 1, 2022
  • [WATCH] Sikh Coalition Testifies at Capitol Hill Hearing

    March 1, 2022 (Washington, DC) – Today, the Sikh Coalition testified before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. During the hearing, Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur Aakre spoke regarding the ongoing discriminatory policies and religious freedom concerns that continue to impact Sikhs and other minority communities since 9/11.

    Click here to watch Ms. Aakre’s congressional testimony, beginning at 1:36:15.
    Click here to read Ms. Aakre’s written testimony.

    Specifically, Ms. Aakre’s testimony detailed Sikh civil rights challenges, including discriminatory policies that force workers to choose between their faith and career, continued profiling of travelers in our nation’s airports, a lack of support from school administrators when children report being bullied, and more.

    “I want to be clear: anti-Sikh bias and discrimination existed before 9/11,” Ms. Aakre said to members of the subcommittee from both parties. “But the events of that day, the way that our politics and culture changed in response, and the manner in which our government policies and regulations continue to be interpreted have all institutionalized that discrimination. And Congress must take action.”

    The Sikh Coalition’s testimony joined remarks from Maya Berry (Arab American Institute), Hammad Alam (Asian Law Caucus), Asra Nomani (Parents Defending Education), Annetta Seecharran (Chhaya), Zulfat Suara (Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County), Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (Penn State Law), and Devon Westhill (Center for Equal Opportunity). Watch the hearing on Discrimination and the Civil Rights of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American Communities here.

    “For too long, Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans have been targets for unfair suspicion, discrimination, and violence by the government and society. It is vital that Congress shine a light on this issue, which is why the House Judiciary Committee hosted this long-overdue hearing to discuss the collective experience of the MASA community and to address the civil rights issues and discrimination they have faced. One critical stakeholder in this conversation is the Sikh community and the issues they have faced and continue to face in the United States. This hearing is an important step forward as we seek to tackle this prejudice and hate, and reaffirm our reputation as an inclusive, welcoming nation for all,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

    For more than two decades, the Sikh Coalition has worked to safeguard the civil rights of Sikhs and other underrepresented communities. Last year, our organization unveiled the second edition of our flagship policy guide informing lawmakers and government officials of recommendations on responding to issues of concern for Sikh Americans; just two weeks ago, we directly facilitated Oak Creek community leader, Pardeep Singh Kaleka, with his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in a hearing entitled The Rise in Violence Against Minority Institutions.

    The Sikh Coalition will continue advocating for the policy recommendations outlined in today’s testimony and urging both Congress and the White House to take action to protect our communities.

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

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