The Veto of California’s Kirpan Education Bill – FAQs

October 20, 2009

As many of you have already heard, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last week vetoed a proposed law pertaining to Sikhs and Sikh articles of faith, including the kirpan. In the aftermath of the announcement, there has been some confusion about the purpose of the law and the meaning of the Governor’s veto. Below, we have tried to address a few of the main questions we are being asked by community members about the bill and the veto. Read the rest of this entry »


Bay Area Sikh Needs Assessment Officially Kicks Off

August 19, 2009
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Sikh children at Fremont Gurdwara Sahib's Summer Camp

By Bhavreet Singh, the Sikh Coalition’s California Community Organizing Intern for Summer 2009.

On August 13th, the Sikh Coalition’s Bay Area Needs Assessment project in California officially kicked off. After several months of piloting the survey and revising it based on feedback from community members, partner organizations, and social science researchers, the survey is ready to be administered. Nearly fifty children were surveyed last Thursday at the Fremont Gurdwara’s kids’ summer camp. The kids were very responsive, and they took time to properly complete the survey.

The purpose of the Bay Area Needs Assessment is to determine the  major civil rights issues that are most impacting the Bay Area Sikh community by conducting surveys throughout the Bay Area. There are two versions of the same survey: one for children in grade school and another for adults. These surveys are available in English and Punjabi for in-person administration at Gurdwaras and Sikh events. The Sikh Coalition will also administer English versions of the survey online. It is important that Bay Area Sikhs take part in this project because the result of these surveys will be used to create Sikh Coalition’s civil rights agenda for the upcoming years. Without the participation and support of Bay Area Sikhs, the Sikh Coalition cannot effectively do quality and high-impact work to protect Sikhs’ civil rights.

The Sikh Coalition will need Punjabi and English speaking sevadars to help implement the surveys in Bay Area Gurdwaras and at local Sikh events. If any one is interested in doing this seva, please contact Ravneet Kaur at ravneet@sikhcoalition.org.


Time to Wake Up

August 12, 2009

By Manpreet Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s Advocacy Intern for Summer 2009.

I attended the Hemkunt Foundation Speech Competition in Los Angeles this past weekend, where I spoke about the Sikh Coalition’s work on the Sikh Right to Serve campaign. My hope was to inspire some of the participants to take action in support of the campaign, as Angad is doing in this video.

Over the summer, I’ve been saddened to see the lack of drive in college age individuals to make a difference. During the Sikh Coalition’s DC grassroots week, I handled a lot of behind the sceens outreach and communication. Read the rest of this entry »


A Video Of AB 504 Passing: “All Those Voters Are To Vote”

June 5, 2009

The historic CA Kirpan Legislation (AB 504) passed this week on the Assembly floor.  Onto the Senate we go!

Watch the video below to see Assembly Member Furutani present the bill and legislators vote on it … “All those voters are to vote, all those voters are to vote”! This video provides an insight into how government policies are made.

Please forward to 58 minutes.

Thanks for all your support!


Going Grassroots: An Intern’s Perspective

June 4, 2009
Sangat at Fremont Gurdwara Sahib

Sangat at Fremont Gurdwara Sahib

On May 31st, I got my first taste of true grassroots organizing as an intern with the Sikh Coalition. Ravneet, the community organizer in California, and I spent several hours at the Fremont Gurdwara. We were encouraging Sikhs to reach out to their Assemblymembers to promote the CA Kirpan Education Bill (AB 504) and collecting signatures for the Army Campaign Petition. Within a few hours, we gathered more than 100 signatures and answered questions about the Sikh Coalition’s major campaigns.

Sangat members were extremely responsive and wanted to help achieve the necessary policy changes that would help Sikhs freely practice their faith in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »


Connecting the Dots

May 28, 2009

Despite this being our first year at the API Policy Summit, we were honored to have been chosen as team leaders for the groups’ legislative lobby day on Tuesday. Both Ravneet and Neha worked with a group of attendees to identify API bills currently being considered in the California Capitol. Today, we met with legislators in the California State Assembly and Senate to promote the bills each of our groups had chosen.

Lobbying with our AAPI Partners in Sacramento

Lobbying with our AAPI Partners in Sacramento

Read the rest of this entry »


The End Does Not Justify the Means

May 27, 2009

This week marks the sixth annual Asian Pacific Islander Policy Summit in Sacramento, California. The conference is an opportunity for Asian American policymakers, activists, organizers and community groups to meet and discuss issues relevant to our communities. Sikh Coalition staff members this year are attending the conference as part of a special track that addresses civil rights issues. These issues range from hate crimes and discrimination to the Sikh community’s kirpan education bill.

Read the rest of this entry »


Video: CA Sikh Community Leaders Meet with Sikh Coalition

April 7, 2009

majorgill1This past Saturday, Sikh community leaders from the Central Valley, Bay Area, and Northern California joined Sikh Coalition Board and Staff members to discuss issues facing  California’s Sikh community. In attendance were community members affiliated with El Sobrante Gurdwara Sahib, Fremont Gurdwara Sahib, San Jose Gurdwara Sahib, Sikh Council Of Central California, UC Berkeley SSA, and West Sacramento Gurdwara Sahib. Read the rest of this entry »


Critical Philanthropy

April 3, 2009

aapip-logoOn Tuesday, I pulled my head out of my overflowing caseload (employment discrimination, school bullying, kirpan issues, etc.) to attend a meeting hosted by Asian Americans / Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). AAPIP is a national foundation that provided a grant to help establish the Sikh Coalition’s Western Region Office last year. It is the only foundation that specifically provides funding for organizations that serve the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim & South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. Read the rest of this entry »


Speaking for the CA Kirpan Education Bill

April 1, 2009

After the hearing, California Sikhs pose together on the steps of the State Legislature in Sacramento.

After the hearing, California Sikhs pose together on the steps of the State Legislature in Sacramento.

Yesterday, 17 members of the California Sikh community spoke before the California State Assembly’s Public Safety Committee to urge it’s members to pass AB 504 – the Kirpan Education Bill for California law enforcement officers. The Sikhs traveled to Sacramento from across the state – from Southern California, the Central Valley, the Bay Area, and parts of Northern California. As a result of their efforts, the bill passed through the Public Safety Committee with a unanimous vote.

Watch the viedo below to hear the sangat members discuss their experiences in Sacramento.


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