School Officials Respond in Indiana Bullying Case
A Sikh high school senior at Whiteland Community High School (WCHS) in Whiteland, Indiana is back at school with a safety plan in place after he faced severe bias-motivated harassment and assault
from a group of students who made statements including “Why do you wear these turbans” and “Why are you here?” In the aftermath of the attack, the student--who currently requests to remain anonymous in an effort to protect his privacy--retained the Sikh Coalition for free legal support. In response, we co-counseled with a local attorney, Komal Sahi, to advocate for our client’s safe return to school and for WCHS officials to address the systemic bias-based bullying issues permeating the school environment.
to read the latest update about this case. You can also learn more through local news coverage in the IndyStar
, and the Daily Journal
Sikh Coalition Testifies at Capitol Hill Hearing
On March 1, 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, 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.
to learn more about the congressional hearing. The Sikh Coalition will continue advocating for the policy recommendations outlined in Ms. Aakre’s testimony and urging both Congress and the White House to take action to protect our communities.
600 Taxi and Rideshare Resource Fliers Distributed
On February 12, more than 30 sevadaars gathered at New York City’s JFK International Airport to distribute know-your-rights and other hate crime resources to taxi and rideshare drivers. Over the course of just a few hours, these volunteers distributed a total of 600 fliers, which included resources submitted by 10 organizations in more than 12 languages. Watch a video feature here
, and read more here
The Sikh Coalition would like to thank our city and community partners for this event: the Arab American Association of New York, the Asian American Federation, CAIR of New York, the Korean American Family Service Center, Muslim Community Network New York, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Stand with Asian Americans, the NYC Commission on Human Rights, the NYC Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, and the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Celebrating Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month in April
As Vaisakhi approaches, celebrations present an opportunity for Sikhs to invite their neighbors, colleagues, and community to partake in the festivities and learn about Sikhism. One critical way to do this is through securing a Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month (SAAM) recognition in your city, state, or school district for the month of April. Our short guide
details how to work with your elected officials on official SAAM recognitions as well as listing a host of other ideas to spread Sikh awareness and educate your communities.
Remember to start your outreach early to secure a SAAM recognition. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
. The sangat is counting on you to bring Sikh awareness to your community this year!
Sikh Voice from Oak Creek Testifies Before Congress
On February 17, Pardeep Singh Kaleka--the son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was one of six Sikh community members initially killed in the 2012 attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek--testified
before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in a hearing entitled “The Rise in Violence Against Minority Institutions.” In his testimony, Pardeep ji recounted his family’s horrific experience during the Oak Creek tragedy and called for a whole-of-government response to protect minority communities.
The Sikh Coalition was proud to assist the subcommittee in finding a Sikh voice for this hearing, and to work with Pardeep ji to prepare his testimony. You can watch Pardeep ji’s testimony here
starting at 1:04:18, or read it here
. In addition, you can review the Sikh Coalition’s own submission for the congressional record here
Indiana Recognizes One Year Anniversary of FedEx Shooting
On March 1, the Indiana House of Representatives adopted a resolution
recognizing the one-year anniversary of the Indianapolis FedEx shooting on April 15, 2021, which took the lives of eight individuals and left a traumatic impact on countless others. The Sikh Coalition was proud to assist in facilitating this important recognition. In the weeks ahead, we will plan to amplify opportunities for Americans nationwide to honor the lives lost and those forever impacted by this tragedy.
Legal Team Colleague Joins Discussion on Anti-Asian Hate
On February 25, Senior Legal Client Manager Aasees Kaur joined a virtual panel discussion on lessons learned regarding anti-Asian hate--particularly in the one year since the March 16, 2021, spa shootings in the greater Atlanta area. Aasees joined legal, campaign, community, and media experts for the conversation, which was hosted by the Georgia Asian Times. Click here
to watch a recording of the event.
NYC Officials on Protecting AAPI Communities
On February 28, the Sikh Coalition joined other civil rights organizations for a meeting hosted by the New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, and local elected officials. The roundtable discussion included recommendations on how the mayor’s office can improve public safety and provide support to Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across New York City, including ways to better track and report anti-Sikh hate crimes.
The Sikh Coalition is looking for a Community Development Manager! In this role, you will work to build community power and address the needs of individual sangats from coast to coast. We are seeking a dynamic self-starter for this important job. Learn more and apply here
The Sikh Coalition is also currently accepting applications for summer internships. We are hiring talented and engaged students to serve as interns for our Advocacy, Community Development, Education, Media and Communications, and Legal teams. The Sikh Coalition’s interns have the opportunity to do meaningful and impactful work while gaining hands-on experience in the civil rights space. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Applications for the summer are being accepted on a rolling basis. To apply, click here
In this Issue