August 31, 2010
The Sikh Coalition has received inquiries from community members about new visa requirements for traveling to India. In June 2010 the Embassy of India changed its requirements for former Indian nationals. See https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/guidelines for more information.
Also, irrespective of foreign nationality or visa type, individuals may no longer be allowed more than one entry into India within a two month period without special permission. See http://www.mha.nic.in/pdfs/FAQ-TVisa170510.pdf for more information.
Travelers to India, please familiarize yourself with the new requirements and plan ahead! Please contact the Embassy of India for more information (http://www.indianembassy.org/visa.php).
July 26, 2010
On June 13 2010, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy was determined to introduce a bill to ban Muslim women from wearing burqas or niqabs, despite warnings from France’s highest constitutional body that the ban would infringe constitutional rights.
Under the guise of liberating Muslim women from the full veil, the bill passed in France’s lower house with flying colors; 335 votes were in favor of the ban, while 1 vote was against the ban. If the bill passes through the Senate in September, which Sarkozy believes will not be a problem, our Muslim sisters will face a 150 Euro fine if seen covering their face in public.
Whether you agree with women wearing full burqas is not the point. The point is that the government of France is targeting Muslim women and criminalizing them for the way they practice their faith, all in the name of gender equality. When has revoking women’s basic freedom to choose ever resulted in gender equality? As Sikhs, we know all too well that being forced to remove an article of our faith from our identities does not lead to liberation. Imagine the heavy decisions that lay ahead for our Muslim sisters. What will they feel on the day that the law is implemented and they are forced to decide between the law and their faith? Read the rest of this entry »
May 14, 2010
I recently watched Kavita Ramdas’ engaging TED talk on Radical Women, Embracing Tradition and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. Ramdas, the president & CEO of the Global Fund for Women, explains how the concept of ‘tradition’ can be brought into radical thought and be used as a tool to create social change.
She calls this solution a ‘third-way raga’ that challenges some of the most commonand accepted polarities in society (ie. modernity vs. tradition, first world & third world, etc). We can understand how an extreme relationship between ‘tradition’ and ‘radical’ can be ineffective in our organizing and it is inspiring to hear how we can bridge the gap in order to further mobilize us as agents of change.
The best part of her talk is the way in which she communicates her message; she uses colorful and inspiring stories of women from around the globe who have used traditional approaches to resist war and other oppressive practices.
I’ll let you see for yourself and hope Ramdas’ message will provide some insight on how we can use her methodology in our day-to-day practices and communities.
May 5, 2010
On April 18, 2010, the Sikh Coalition was privileged to receive recognition for its work from the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation Gurdwara in Rockville, Maryland. As detailed in the following video clip, although the Sikh community has definitely made progress in the post-9/11 environment, much work remains to be done.
January 15, 2010
(Austin, TX) 15 people have the chance to ensure public school students in Texas learn about Sikhs and Sikhism. 15 people have the opportunity to severely decrease the number of bias based bullying incidents against our Sikh children. 15 people have the ability to pioneer efforts to reflect the diversity of this country in our public school curriculum.
Who are these chosen 15? They constitute the 15 members of the Texas Board of Education. Read the rest of this entry »
December 16, 2009
This week, Representative Luis Gutierrez introduced a bill entitled “CIR A.S.A.P.” which lays out many real solutions that would get us closer to comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). As previously discussed, The Sikh Coalition fully supports comprehensive immigration reform. This issue is of great importance to Punjabi Sikh immigrants in the United States and is in line with the Sikhi principle of sarbat da bhala.
Click here to tell Congress you support comprehensive immigration reform, and see the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s press release about the new bill below.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 26, 2009
Last Thursday, I attended a rally and press conference at City Hall in NYC in support of the Student Safety Act. About 100 fired up students from Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Make the Road New York, and the Urban Youth Collaborative gathered to speak out about the harassment and abuse that youth of color and immigrant youth face at the hands of school safety agents (who are employed by the NYPD) in NYC public schools.
The message was clear: it is unacceptable for those who are supposed to be keeping students safe in schools to actually be creating repressive and abusive school climates.
Read the rest of this entry »