Sikhs meet Face to Face with US Congressmen and Federal Agencies to Voice their Concerns

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

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
"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."

Young Sikh Leaders Workshop- Youths Experience Leadership and Advocacy Lessons on Capitol Hill.

Top Left: Some attendees of this year's Young Sikh Leaders Workshop. Top Right: Economic Policy Advisor for Sen Coons, JJ Singh addressing the youths. Bottom Left: American Idol Fame Gurpreet Singh Sarin addresses youths.  

 

 

Washington D.C.- Our youths had an amazing opportunity to meet with community leaders for a rare lesson in leadership and advocacy rights on Capitol Hill. The UNITED SIKHS Young Sikh Leaders Workshop (YSLW) provided students of undergraduate universities to gather at our nation's capitol to build their leadership and advocacy skills. They met with Sikh activists and leaders to learn about issues that affect the Sikh American community and discovered possible actions that may be taken to make a difference in the community.

Guest speakers included American Idol Fame Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Economic Policy Advisor to Senator Chris Coons JJ Singh and Journalist Anju Kaur.

"The creation of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus and the increase in hate crimes against Sikhs make the need for advocacy on behalf of our community more essential than ever before. We wanted to create a program in which our youth can develop their advocacy skills, learn from important Sikh leaders about leadership and career development, and become knowledgeable on current Sikh issues. Attendees had the chance to do all this and more: they met a successful journalist, congressional advisor, and Americal Idol contestant while partaking in mock congressional meetings and engaging in important dialogue about bullying in schools. We look forward to the next segment in this workshop series.", said Anisha Singh, Policy Advocate UNITED SIKHS.

Angad Singh, a young sikh leader reported; "I did not know what to expect when I signed up for the workshop since I did not have any previous experience working on Sikh issues or doing any kind of advocacy. But I was amazed at how much I learned. I had no idea there were so many cases UNITED SIKHS worked on around the world which resulted in policy change. I also really enjoyed hearing Gurpreet speak about leadership. Since I am a finance major and the skills he discussed will apply to my career."

Through the workshop, young leaders became aware of social issues, expanded their knowledge on strategic solutions, built relationships and gained mentors with leaders from the community, and developed confidence to advocate for Sikh rights. YSLW 2013 focused on exploring post-9/11 xenophobia and hate crime increases, bias-based bullying among youth, and tools to advocate for change and address misconceptions.

 

 

Sikh Summit 2013