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The Sikh Coalition News
May 17, 2022
  • Federal Resources for Securing Your Gurdwara

    May 17, 2022 (Washington, DC) – Last Friday, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) opened its application cycle for fiscal year 2022. The NSGP provides funding support for physical security enhancements, trainings, and other line items to nonprofit organizations—including houses of worship like gurdwaras—to help them prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks. Such resources remain critical in light of the continued threat of targeted violence, as evidenced by the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY, this weekend.

    “The NSGP is one important resource offered by the federal government to help keep our communities safe,” said Rucha Kaur, Sikh Coalition Community Development Director. “This year, there is significantly more funding available, so more houses of worship—including gurdwaras—should have an opportunity to apply for this funding, allowing them to spend money on equipment like security cameras, active shooter trainings, the development of disaster preparedness plans, and more.”

    In order to apply for NSGP funding, gurdwara leadership should visit the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) website for more information; ultimately, applications are submitted through state agencies. It is important to be able to articulate any threats or incidents your gurdwara has already faced, how current events contribute to a broader threat to Sikh Americans and our places of worship, and information about local or federal law enforcement who can help corroborate these details. According to FEMA, applications that will serve “historically underserved or disadvantaged” communities and have not previously received NSGP funding are among this year’s evaluation criteria. In general, each applicant can seek up to $150,000 of funding.

    The federal government is hosting a series of free webinars about the NSGP on May 17, May 20, May 25, June 2, and June 9. Additionally, you can read FEMA’s FAQ on the NPSG here. The deadline for your gurdwara to apply for NSGP funding depends on the state where you live; all applications must ultimately be submitted through your state to FEMA by June 13, 2022. The Sikh Coalition recommends submitting a full and complete application as soon as possible.

    Since the 2017 launch of the Sikh Coalition’s own gurdwara security program, more than 80 gurdwaras across the country have worked with our staff to take proactive steps to make their gurdwaras safer as outlined in our toolkit, Preventing Attacks on Gurdwaras. In most cases, these free security recommendations identified safety improvements that the gurdwaras were not previously aware of. These simple and effective security consultations have helped gurdwaras to implement new security measures without altering the welcoming environment and helped mitigate some of the threats gurdwaras face. If you have questions about the toolkit or a potential consultation, email community@sikhcoalition.org or call 212-655-3095 for assistance in English or Punjabi.

    Finally, it is important to note that as a civil rights organization, the Sikh Coalition takes protecting the civil liberties of all Americans extremely seriously. This includes remaining hyper-sensitive to potential problematic law enforcement programs and policies that could infringe or harm the rights of Sikhs or other minority religious communities. Please note that the Sikh Coalition is only offering information and resources to secure gurdwaras; ultimately, gurdwara leadership should consider how comfortable they are collaborating with federal agencies and what the potential implications could be.

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

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