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The Sikh Coalition News
September 9, 2022
  • Engaging the TSA to Fight Anti-Sikh Discrimination

    September 9, 2022 (Washington, DC) -- Today, the Sikh Coalition--in collaboration with other Sikh organizations--is pleased to announce the completion of a new and improved Transportation Security Administration (TSA) training on how officers can respectfully interact with Sikh travelers and their articles of faith.

    This new training is meant to inform TSA’s airport screening employees on the fundamental aspects on how to interact with a Sikh pursuant to existing TSA screening policies and procedures. The Sikh organizations involved in the development of this training do not endorse existing TSA screening policies and procedures as they apply to Sikhs and other characteristics of a traveler’s identity.

    “Sikhs continue to be subject to discrimination in our nation’s airports, which is why holding the TSA accountable and pushing for improved policies and practices has been a cornerstone of the Sikh Coalition’s work for years,” said Sim J. Singh Attariwala, Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy. “We appreciate that the TSA is willing to use this new tool, and we are thankful for the contributions of our partner organizations in creating a product that should better protect Sikhs and our rights when we travel.”

    During the summer of 2020, the Sikh Coalition approached the TSA about the development of a new training given the longstanding pattern of Sikh travelers facing religious rights violations and discrimination in airport screening. We proceeded to work with the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) and United Sikhs for months to create a new slide deck with audio narration. The deck discusses the Sikh articles of faith, the challenges Sikh travelers face at security screening areas, and best practices for respectful screening procedures.

    “The Transportation Security Administration strives to treat all individuals with dignity and respect in the course of our work to keep the United States safe,” said Marie Trottier, Multicultural Coalition POC with the TSA. “We are grateful to our Sikh partners for their efforts to engage and educate our officers, and we are committed to ensuring that Sikh travelers are treated fairly and respectfully in our nation’s airports.”

    Per the TSA, this training will be the first in a series of continuing education modules available in developing effective engagement and screening of diverse travelers. The training will be offered to all TSA officers throughout our nation’s 440 federalized airports, and it will be used to reinforce training in response to any Sikh traveler complaint or concerns raised by the Sikh Coalition.

    This kind of training is just one important tool that can help reduce the issues faced by Sikh travelers. As a reminder, the Sikh Coalition also recently refreshed our FlyRights tool, which allows Sikh travelers to report instances of discrimination in airports immediately from their phone, tablet, or laptop. Since FlyRights originally launched in 2012, reports of misconduct received via the platform have been used to identify individuals and airports where more training, reform, or other improvements are needed. You can learn more about the updated FlyRights tool and the Sikh Coalition’s broader ongoing work to push for accountability and improvement at the TSA here.

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

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Editing:2022.09.08 TSA training Editing:2022.09.08 TSA training  

Editing:2022.09.08 TSA training Editing:2022.09.08 TSA training