Legal Aid for Elderly Sikh Man Attacked in Queens
Early in the morning on Sunday, April 3, Nirmal Singh--a 70-year-old Sikh man visiting the United States--was assaulted while out for a walk in Queens, NY. The Sikh Coalition was retained by and has been providing direct resources, including free legal services, to Mr. Singh and his son (who is located in Canada) since shortly after this attack. Mr. Singh continues to recover from his injuries; he and his son both request privacy after so much initial public attention, and ask that images of Mr. Singh after the attack not be shared further online.
The Sikh Coalition remains in communication with the NYPD after we initially provided them with video surveillance showing the attack. The NYPD is investigating the assault as an anti-Sikh hate crime and released additional video of the suspect and a request for tips via their Crime Stoppers account
on April 6. We have also been in touch with the FBI. In coordination with Richmond Hill sangat leaders, we thank the many elected officials, law enforcement, leaders of allied civil rights organizations, reporters, and Sikh community members everywhere who have expressed their support of Mr. Singh, asked after his health, and spoken out about the wider issue of hate violence. We will continue to provide updates on this case.
Engaging the Indianapolis Sikh Community and Area Educators
On March 14, the Sikh Coalition hosted a Sikh awareness training
for more than 100 administrators and staff at Whiteland Community High School (WCHS) in Whiteland, IN. During the training, educators learned about the Sikh faith and community--one of the fastest-growing demographics within the school--and how to recognize and respond to incidents of religious-based bullying. This session was held in direct response to the February 2022 bias-motivated harassment and assault of a Sikh high school student
Additionally, on March 6, the Sikh Coalition partnered with local community organization LOK-E to host a virtual community town hall that created space for the Indianapolis sangat to speak about all of the related issues in Indiana’s public school system. Then, on April 3, we partnered with LOK-E for a free education workshop to equip community members with the tools and resources they need to engage educators and prompt change that creates safer classrooms for all students. The Sikh Coalition and LOK-E are grateful to all attendees for their commitment to working towards Sikh inclusion in classrooms.
Thank You to Satjeet Kaur
After an extraordinary 13 years of service--including more than 4 years as Executive Director--Satjeet Kaur officially stepped down
from her leadership position as the head of the Sikh Coalition last month.
When Satjeet stepped up to lead the organization in 2018, she oversaw the largest staff expansion in the Sikh Coalition’s history. Her leadership throughout this period of growth facilitated successes across the organization’s programmatic areas, including the passage of new hate crime laws, victories in workplace discrimination cases, six new states adding Sikhi to their social studies standards, and the development of a large and varied library of resources for teachers. She effectively steered the organization through unprecedented crises, among them the farmers’ protest in India, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the aftermath of the 2021 mass shooting in Indianapolis. In all of this work, she consistently strengthened the Sikh Coalition’s partnerships with allied organizations, deepened our grassroots efforts to engage sangats across the nation, and put great individual care towards the management and development of our staff.
For the immediate interim, the Sikh Coalition’s day-to-day core programmatic work will be managed by Senior Managing Director of Programs Mark Reading-Smith and Legal Director Amrith Kaur Aakre. Additionally, board members Nitasha Kaur Sawhney and Harpreet Singh have stepped in as co-Interim Executive Directors to manage and support senior staff leadership, as well as provide capacity and expertise to the team. The Sikh Coalition expects to share other updates pertaining to the Executive Director search in the short weeks ahead.
April is Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month
In the last few weeks, the Sikh Coalition has been working to support Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month (SAAM) proclamations and resolutions around the country and raising Sikh awareness by asking every member of congress to celebrate Sikhs on their social media platforms for #Vaisakhi. Be sure to follow the Sikh Coalition on Facebook
, and Instagram
this month to learn how sangats nationwide are celebrating SAAM and Vaisakhi in their communities!
One Year Since the Atlanta Spa Shootings
On March 16, Sikhs nationwide joined the Asian American community in remembering the eight individuals killed and others injured in a series of shootings at three Atlanta spas last year. Of the eight victims killed in the shootings, six were female Asian American massage workers.
To mark this important anniversary, the Sikh Coalition joined the “Break the Silence: Justice for Asian Women” rally
in New York City and signed on as a co-sponsor along with 400 other community-based organizations to a joint statement
released by Asian Americans Advancing Justice to #RememberMarch16. Later this year, we will be signing on as a partner for the National AAPI Day Against Bullying+Hate
on May 18 and supporting the Unity March
in Washington, DC on June 25.
Sikh Book Collection in Oak Creek
Today, the Sikh community of Wisconsin and the Oak Creek Public Library launched a new Sikh Book Collection that aids library visitors in learning about the Sikh faith and community. Now available to the public, the collection permanently includes books written by Sikhs and written about the Sikh faith. Additionally, free educational resources from the Sikh Coalition--including our Educator’s Guide to Sikhism, Sikh Celebrations lessons plans and classroom activities, and Back to School Toolkit--are on display and accessible to the public.
As the 10 year anniversary of the Oak Creek shooting approaches this August, events like these continue to raise Sikh awareness among the public and highlight the faith, traditions, and resilience of the Sikh community in Wisconsin and across the country. The Sikh Coalition remains in consultation with the Oak Creek sangat to explore commemorative events and advocacy activities marking the anniversary. We hope to share more details about both local and national efforts in the weeks ahead.
Hiring Positions to Engage Sangats
Are you passionate about civil rights and ready to make a difference by engaging community members across the country? If so, consider applying to the Community Development Manager or Legal Intake Manager positions with the Sikh Coalition!
Reporting to the Director of Community Development, the Community Development Manager
will be charged with mobilizing the Sikh community to broadly engage in their local civic life. A successful candidate will administer organizational programs aimed at addressing the needs of the Sikh community nationally; they will be focused on building social momentum, driving increased civic engagement, deepening relationships with community leaders coordinating initiatives, and developing partnerships that strengthen the Sikh Coalition’s relationship to the sangat we serve. Apply online
with a resume and cover letter.
Reporting to the Legal Director, the Legal Intake Manager
will be responsible for responding to new legal intakes, gathering facts and information from clients during the intake process, and managing client relationships and responsibilities with the support of the Sikh Coalition attorney assigned to the case. As an integral part of the Sikh Coalition’s legal team, the Legal Intake Manager will attend regular legal team and staff meetings and will have the opportunity to learn from a team of seasoned civil rights attorneys on how to protect and defend the rights of Sikh Americans. Please note that this is a six month contracted position; apply online
with a resume, cover letter, and two recommendations.
Raising Sikh Awareness in the Classroom
On March 28, Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Education Harman Singh led a virtual presentation for 210 students at H.H. Wells Middle School in Brewster, NY. The presentation introduced students to the Sikh faith, community, and traditions. We are grateful to administrators at H.H. Wells Middle School for inviting us to engage their students! If you are interested in bringing a Sikh awareness presentation to a classroom near you, please reach out to our education team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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