March 30, 2009
Today at the Fremont Gurdwara it was great to see a local group of sevadars called, “The Seva Group”, put on a much-needed event to meet the social service needs of the Sikh elderly. Various city and county social service organizations were present to answer questions about topics from Medi-cal to diabetes. Stay tuned for a short video on the event!
While providing translation services for sangat members, I got a better idea of the direct social service needs our community is encountering. It was joyful to see such a large group of seniors and other sangat members organizing around this social cause; but painful to hear about the issues our elderly encounter, ranging from healthcare to immigration.
Following the event, we had a focus-group interview on the top ten issues affecting our elderly community. It was amazing to watch these Babujis engaged in this research process. They were fun to listen to; while providing great insight into their problems.
March 28, 2009
Last week, I came across an email from a community member praising Trip Chowdry, a research analyst who works for Global Equities. Trip was recently featured on CNBC in an interview discussing the IPhone and competitors in the market. Even though the segment centered on new technology, the subliminal message to viewers was much more effective – a turbaned man on the news giving his “expert” opinions to cell phone users everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »
March 27, 2009
A Sikh TSA officer hired at San Francisco Airport last year is helping increase sensitivity towards Sikh passengers' articles of faith.
It’s that time of the year again – In April, the Sikh Coalition will be issuing its First Quarter Report Card on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Our report cards are intended to track how the TSA’s turban screening policy is being implemented at our nation’s airports. If you’ve flown anywhere through the United States in the last 3 months, please tell us about it. The cut-off for first quarter TSA reports is next Tuesday, March 31st, and we need your help!
Why are we still doing this? Read the rest of this entry »
March 25, 2009
Today, Ravneet Kaur and I visited Sacramento to meet with committee staff members working on the Kirpan Education Bill. Our video below explains more about the proposed legislation and takes you along for a trip through the Capitol.
If you’re a Sikh who lives in California, help make a difference by clicking here to send an email to the members of the California Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety.
Want to learn more about the CA Kirpan Education Bill? Click here to read our advisory or contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ravneet (email@example.com).
March 24, 2009
This past Sunday, I spent the day in Richmond Hill, Queens alongside our Community Organizing Intern Gulsheen Kaur. Lately we’ve been spending our Sundays conducting surveys of Sikh youth who go to NYC public schools about their experiences with harassment and bullying. As you may know, the activism of the Sikh community and our allies led to the implementation of a new Chancellor’s regulation on bias-based harassment and bullying in the NYC Department of Education. Since October, we have surveyed hundreds of students at the gurdwaras to find out if their schools are properly implementing the new policy (the youth survey can also be filled out online here).
In this rough (emphasis on rough) video clip taken at a gurdwara in Richmond Hill, you will hear from a few students about some of the bigotry they have experienced and witnessed in their schools. Sarabvir Singh, an 8th grader at Middle School 72, explains that other students “are discriminating against patkas, they’re trying to beat us [Sikhs] up, throw things at us, touching our patkas without our permission.” Gurnam Singh, a 7th grader at the same middle school reports that other students threaten to “trim your turban.”
Read the rest of this entry »
March 24, 2009
The Dallas Morning News published an article this morning on Darshan Singh’s quest to ensure another Sikh is not told they must remove their Dastaar if they want their passport photograph taken at a post office.
In short, Darshan Singh has secured an apology from the post office AND according to the article:
“Postal officials have since sent a memo detailing the federal guidelines related to religious headwear to post at the 342 postal retail outlets in the Dallas district.”
It’s great to know that in addition to persuading the post office to take his son’s passport picture, Darshan Singh took steps to fix the root cause of the problem in the Dallas area. Read the rest of this entry »
March 20, 2009
Check out this article in Colorlines Magazine about the Sikh community’s action to address harassment and bullying of children in New York City schools (just click on the picture or link below):
The War on Terror Fuels Racial Bullying
Community advocates demand policy changes as Sikh kids face more violence.
March 19, 2009
On Friday, I participated in a panel at UC Berkeley’s law school commemorating the Korematsu case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal government’s actions in interning thousands of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. The government’s actions were based solely on racism. Read the rest of this entry »
March 19, 2009
Yesterday morning I opened my e-mail to find this message from Darshan Singh of Frisco, Texas:
“My wife, I, and our two boys (6 and 3 yrs.) waited for over 90 minutes in line to have our older son Gurjot Singh’s passport renewed. When our turn came, the clerk said Gurjot has to take his turban and glasses off and take a picture for passport. We explained that we belong to Sikh religion, turban is part of our body like hair. We can take a picture with his glasses off, but cannot take turban off. They did not agree….We need your help to resolve this issue. Thanks.”
So what are your rights to have your United States Passport photograph taken with your Dastaar on?
Read the rest of this entry »
March 18, 2009
On Monday, we joined other South Asian advocates in New Jersey’s state capitol, Trenton, to call on New Jersey state legislators to prioritize some of the key issues facing South Asians in the state. Three of us from the Sikh Coalition’s NYC office participated in this Trenton South Asian Advocacy Day, organized by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). Read the rest of this entry »