September 13, 2022 (Washington, DC) -- On Thursday, September 15, the Sikh Coalition and community leaders from the Sikh community will join the Biden Administration for the United We Stand Summit at the White House in Washington, DC. The summit is intended “to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety” and “put forward a shared, bipartisan vision for a more united America.” The Sikh Coalition will participate in the Summit directly, but has also simultaneously worked to ensure that Sikh community leaders impacted by hate violence are featured and uplifted.
The Sikh Coalition has been in direct conversation with the Biden Administration since May of this year about the structure and goals of this Summit--including by insisting on the inclusion of a wide range of perspectives representing the Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Sikh, and Hindu communities, and by arguing against certain prevention programs, including Countering Violent Extermism, that have eroded the trust of Black, Muslim, Arab, and other minority communities who were profiled and surveiled. We also successfully argued that the Summit should be hosted on September 15 to commemorate the anniversary of two critical events in the history of hate in America. The first was the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, by the Klu Klux Klan, which killed four young Black girls and injured many more. The second was the 2001 murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi in Mesa, Arizona; Mr. Sodhi, a turbaned Sikh man, was the first person killed in a post-9/11 hate crime.
“Open discussions of our shared struggle against hate--especially conversations that feature a wide range of community voices--are essential,” said Sim J. Singh Attariwala, Sikh Coalition Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager. “We are deeply hopeful that this Summit is a prelude to not just more of those conversations, but meaningful policy action in response to hate crimes with approaches focused on protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of all.”
The Sikh Coalition’s policy recommendations around the Summit include a presidential commission on hate and white supremacist violence, an executive order in response to longstanding gaps in the federal government’s response to hate crimes and white supremacist violence, and a national stragegy to ensure that schools across the nation are able to teach accurate curricula on diversity, inclusion, and the identity and history of communities who are impacted by bigotry and hate. We will continue to advocate for these and other positive outcomes through the Summit and beyond. For more information about our policy advocacy work, please review our flagship document for lawmakers entitled Combating Bigotry, Bias, and Backlash: Sikh American Policy Priorities
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.