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The Sikh Coalition News
September 16, 2022
  • Sikh Coalition, Community Voices Join #UnitedWeStand Summit

    September 16, 2022 (Washington, DC) -- Yesterday, representatives from the Sikh Coalition and the Sikh community from across the nation joined allied organizations and other communities affected by hate violence for the Biden Administration’s #UnitedWeStand White House Summit in Washington, DC. The Sikh Coalition was proud to serve as a partner in planning this important convening.

    Numerous Sikh community members participated in the Summit. Ajay Singh Beniwal, Public Relations Officer of the Sikh Motorcycle Club USA, participated in a video montage to begin the summit. Mandeep Kaur, a sangat leader from Oak Creek, WI, spoke before the opening interfaith moment of silence. Pardeep Singh Kaleka, another Oak Creek sangat leader who lost his father in the 2012 attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, participated in a diverse panel discussion entitled “Healing the Soul of the Nation: Stories of Survivors.” And other Sikh voices, including Rana Singh Sodhi--the brother of Balbir Singh Sodhi, who was a turbaned Sikh man and the first person killed in a post-9/11 hate crime--were part of the day’s conversations and commemorations. The Sodhi brothers were mentioned by name in President Biden’s closing address, and afterwards, the President spoke with and shook the hands of many of the Sikh community members recognized at the Summit.

    Additionally, the Summit recognized 21 individuals as “Uniters,” for their leadership “in their communities to build bridges and address hate and division." Two of those Uniters are of particular significance to the Sikh community: Valarie Kaur, Sikh civil rights leader, lawyer, filmmaker, author, and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project, and Lt. Brian Murphy, the former Oak Creek Police Department officer who was first on the scene of the attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and took 15 bullets engaging the shooter outside of the gurdwara. The Sikh Coalition congratulates Valarie, Lt. Murphy, and all those individuals who were recognized at the Summit yesterday--as well as the countless community activists and advocates across the nation who continue to do the essential work of countering hate and extremism.

    “The Sikh Coalition appreciated the opportunity to work with the Biden-Harris Administration in organizing this first-of-its-kind Summit,” said Sim J. Singh Attariwala, Sikh Coalition Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager. “Now, we look forward to continuing this work with the President and other national leaders to develop the necessary, concrete policy changes that will better protect all communities from hate and white supremacist violence.”

    As a reminder, 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 both the 2001 murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi and the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

    Coming out of the Summit, the Sikh Coalition will continue to advocate for urgently needed federal policies with respect to combatting hate crimes, bias incidents, and white supremacist violence, as well as supporting diversity and inclusion in the federal government and across our society. 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.

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