UNITED SIKHS Sikh Summit 2013
Left: Members of UNITED SIKHS ICHRA team meet Dept. of Justice, Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination, Eric Treene. Middle: UNITED SIKHS invited to be a part of President Barack Obama's announcement to show support for immigration reform legislation at the White House. Right: Members of UNITED SIKHS ICHRA team meet Congressman Frank Pallone
- UNITED SIKHS and community leaders join hands and approach the Capitol to discuss issues crucial to the Sikh community at the 2013 Sikh Summit.
- Face to Face meetings with 22 State Representatives and Members of six different Government agencies including Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and USCIRF.
- Dinner Banquet held at Sheraton Four Points where both co-chairs to American Sikh Congressional Caucus and other congressmen and leaders spoke and were honored.
- To view pictures, please click here
Washington D.C.- UNITED SIKHS once again gave the national Sikh community a chance to meet US Congressmen from different regions and federal agency officials face to face. Sikh activists and community members shared community concerns and expressed the need for change in our policies.
Held October 22nd- October 24th 2013, the Sikh Summit gave community members from around the United States the opportunity to hold meaningful dialogue and promote solutions about important civil and human rights issues such as:
- Hate and Bias Crimes
- Bullying in Schools
- Increasing Security and Vigilance at Sikh Temples in the U.S. after the shooting massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin
- Right to Turbans at Airports and in the Military
- Employment Discrimination at the Workplace and in Armed Forces
- Racial and Religious Profiling
- Increasing and correcting school textbook information about Sikhs
- Including Sikhs in the U.S. Census
- Stopping the ban on turbans in France
In April 2013, the American Sikh Congressional Caucus was launched and now consists of over 30 congressmen from both sides of the aisle. To assure this new resource was properly utilized, UNITED SIKHS and Sikh community attendees met with caucus members and other congressmen to discuss ways in which the caucus can band together to push for the issues faced by the community. Several proposals and ideas were discussed during these meetings and further action in this regard will be taken in the months to come. UNITED SIKHS is grateful to the following congressional members, agencies, and organizations for individually meeting with us for these important conversations:
|Congressman Joseph Crowley||Congressman Raul M. Grijalva|
|Congressman Patrick Meehan||Congresswoman Jackie Speier|
|Congressman Van Hollen||Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky|
|Congresswoman Judy Chu||Congressman Gary Peters|
|Congressman Frank Pallone||Congresswoman Doris Matsui|
|Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren||Congressman Frank Wolf|
|Congressman Jeff Dunham||Congressman Jerry McNerney|
|Congressman Tom McClintock||Congressman David Valadao|
|Congressman George Miller||Congressman Rush Holt|
|Congressman Doug LaMalfa||Congressman John Conyers|
|Department of Justice||Department of State|
|The Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights||Department of Justice, Community Relations Service|
|Department of Homeland Security||USCIRF and NAACP|
"I congratulate UNITED SIKHS on a very successful Fifth Annual Sikh Summit," said Congresswoman Judy Chu, co-chair of the American Sikh Caucus (pictured in the middle with members of UNITED SIKHS). "UNITED SIKHS has led the effort to address TSA's inconsistent search policies, addressed hate crimes against the Sikh community, and pushed for the creation of an American Sikh Congressional Caucus. Although we have made great strides together, there is still much to be done. As Co-Chair of the Sikh Congressional Caucus, I look forward to working with United Sikhs to ensure America remains true to religious freedom, acceptance and tolerance for all."
"I was honored to participate in the UNITED SIKHS Annual Sikh Summit this year. I represent a district that is home to one of the largest Sikh populations in the United States," said Congressman David Valadao, co-chair of the American Sikh Caucus (centered in the picture with members of UNITED SIKHS). "American-Sikhs have a very strong presence in our community and their impact on American society is significant. I am proud to provide the Sikh community with a voice in Washington and will continue to work with my colleagues to address the unique issues this community faces."
Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union, added, "At the UNITED SIKHS' Summit I was honored to accept the award to the ACLU for our extensive work on behalf of Sikhs -- and to express my thanks to UNITED SIKHS for standing with us and supporting our work toward the goal of religious freedom and equality for all."
In addition to these meetings, a banquet dinner was held in honor of the Sikh Summit on the evening of Wednesday, October 23, 2013, at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Washington D.C. with food provided by Punjabi Junction. The theme of the evening was "Celebrating a Journey from Inspiration to Success." Speakers of the night included:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (co-chair for American Sikh Congressional Caucus)
Congressman David Valadao (co-chair for American Sikh Congressional Caucus)
Congressman Mike Honda (member of American Sikh Congressional Caucus)
Congressman Jerry McNerney (member of American Sikh Congressional Caucus)
Mr. Jeffrey Woodrum (Staffer for Rep. Joseph Crowley)
Mr. Hilary Sheldon (Director of NAACP)
Mr. Paul Monteiro (Associate Director for White House Office of Public Engagement)
Ms. Susan Herman (President of the American Civil Liberties Union)
Mr. Daniel Mach (Director of ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief)
along with numerous members of the Sikh Community including Gurudwara management, and dedicated Sikh activists nationwide.
We thank all of our speakers and honorees for coming to our banquet and joining UNITED SIKHS in its efforts.
The three-day Summit concluded with UNITED SIKHS Policy Advocate, Anisha Singh, along with four other community activists invited to the White House to be a part of President Barack Obama's announcement and support of immigration reform legislation which was headed to the House of Representatives for a vote.
"Despite the government shutdown, this year's annual Sikh Summit brought more meetings than ever before with congressional members," said UNITED SIKHS Policy Advocate, Anisha Singh. "Over 100 Sikh community members from around the world attended our banquet dinner. It as an honor to have both chairs of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. David Valadao, speak to our community. Their words of support and encouragement reassured our community that having these dialogues is imperative as we work together to push for change for the betterment of the Sikh community. A very humbling close to the summit was a visit to the White House to hear President Barack Obama speak on his support for the current immigration reform legislation."
For UNITED SIKHS to continue its efforts (both domestically and internationally), we need your assistance, so please donate. You may donate online or in person to a UNITED SIKHS chapter near you. For details on our chapters, please visit our contact page.
You may read a previous report on UNITED SIKHS' advocacy for the Sikh community here.
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Director, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)
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