Community Voice

14th Apr 2009, Tuesday         1st Vaisakh (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi )

UNITED SIKHS Congratulates Sikh Community on the 310th Vaisakhi; Remembering and Reminding the Community to Continue Its Commitment to the Principles of Liberty, Empowerment, and Justice

Vaaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

On this day exactly three centuries and one decade ago, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, founded the Khalsa with the purpose of upholding truth and justice while living ones life with utmost integrity. These responsibilities required the Khalsa to pursue freedom, justice and equality for all regardless of caste, gender, creed, race, or religion. As a United Nations affiliated organization, UNITED SIKHS continues to tread this path and is motivated by the desire to serve humanity with compassion and a determination to empower the disadvantaged. Our projects in Humanitarian Relief (SikhAid), Empowerment and Education, and International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA), seek to inform, uplift, and develop the Sikh Community and all other peoples.

In the post 9/11 era, during which the marginalization of minorities and specifically Sikhs has increased, we have been working vigorously to advocate for civil and human rights, free practice of religion, equality, and against discrimination of any kind. Additionally, we are proactively working with the general public to educate and create awareness of the Sikh identity, and to create policies that are beneficial for minorities. In doing so, UNITED SIKHS hosted the First Global Sikh Civil Rights Conference in December 2008 where many Sikh organizations from all over the world participated in discussions around civil and human rights issues facing the Sikh community; the result of which is the Global Sikh Agenda. UNITED SIKHS also issued the First Global Sikh Civil Rights Report at the Conference, which reported on civil and human rights issues of Sikhs in twenty-four countries. Read more on the 2008 Conference and Report by clicking here.

We call on the entire Sikh nation around the world to report their civil and human rights issues for the 2009 Report, and to actively participate in the next global conference in December of 2009.

Global Sikh Civil Rights Conference, 2008

UNITED SIKHS appreciates your continuing support, and would like to share some highlights of what we are doing around the world:

UNITED SIKHS-Global: ICHRA - Raising Sikh Issues at the International Level through Reports and Advocacy at the United Nations, with UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Religion and Racism and Xenophobia, at the European Union, and other diplomats. Hosting the Global Sikh Civil Rights Conference and publishing the Global Sikh Civil Rights Report to better intra-community relations and display the breadth of civil and human rights issues facing the global Sikh community. SikhAid - Generating multi-country disaster relief efforts in disasters such as the recent Italian earthquake or last year's cyclone in Myanmar.

UNITED SIKHS-USA: ICHRA - Combatting Racism and Xenophobia, such as in the US Airways Case Where Three Sikh Musicians Were Profiled and Removed from a Plane, Healthcare Guidelines for Hospital Following a Number of Cases Where Sikh Religious Principles Have Been Violated Under Medical Care, Hate/Bias Crimes, Employment Discrimination, Citizenship and Immigration Advocacy, Prisoner's Rights for the Right to Practice Faith Freely in Prison; SikhAid - Homeless Feeding, Emergency Preparedness for Gurdwaras; Empowerment – New York Educare Center Provides Local Residents with ESL, Homework Help, Computer Classes, Health Workshops, Selfless Saturdays, and PSL.

UNITED SIKHS-Canada: ICHRA - Right to Turban Campaign for Exemption from Mandatory Helmet Laws, Kirpan Advocacy Where Boy Incorrectly Accused at School, and Minority Rights, Where Sikh Student Mistreated by Security at a Stadium; SikhAid - Feed The Homeless Campaign; Empowerment and Education of the Sikh Community.

UNITED SIKHS-France: ICHRA – Right to Turban Campaign for Advocating Against the Ban on Ostensible Religious Symbols in Schools and on Photograph Identification.

UNITED SIKHS-UK: ICHRA – Right to Kirpan and Kara in Schools and All Public and Private Places, Working with Other Organizations and Government to Establish Proper Practices; Empowerment – London Educare Center

UNITED SIKHS-India: ICHRA – Bringing Attention to Issues Such as the Sikh Reference Library and More Attention to Failures in the Propagation of the Rule of Law, Reporting on Issues Facing the Community; SikhAid – Providing Disaster Assistance During Critical Times, Such as Last Years Flooding in Panjab; Empowerment – Educational Programs such as the Learning Values Educational Series and UNITED SIKHS-Oxford University TravelAid Teaching Program.

UNITED SIKHS-Kenya: ICHRA – Education of General Public About the Sikh Identity, Reporting of Advocacy Issues in Africa; SikhAid – Bookbags and Educational Supplies for Children

UNITED SIKHS-Ireland: ICHRA – Working with Other Sikh Organizations on the Right to Turban Campaign for Employment in Police, Education of General Public About the Sikh Identity

UNITED SIKHS-Malaysia: SikhAid – Providing Disaster Relief When There Are Major Disasters in South Asia, such as the Myanmar Cyclone or Asian Tsunami.

UNITED SIKHS dedication to grassroots and global justice has been powered by volunteers and the community, who are reaching out, speaking up, and standing in solidarity wherever there is a need. Contributions from our community through volunteer work and financial donations have provided the foundation and ability to work in line with the teachings solidified by the Khalsa in 1699. We humbly request you to volunteer time or donate funds to help UNITED SIKHS continue its work in disaster relief, Empowerment, and international civil and human rights advocacy.

On behalf of UNITED SIKHS volunteers, interns, and staff, we wish you a happy Vaisakhi!

Issued By:

Amneet Singh
Advocacy, Media and Operations Coordinator

Our Mission

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.