Another TSA Miscalculation?

February 3, 2012

The Sikh Coalition has obtained previously unreleased TSA documents.  Written in 2009, these documents show that the agency can pursue several auditing options to weed out racial and religious profiling.  In addition, the authors of the document apparently miscalculated the effectiveness of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines, recommending that TSA determine which auditing option to implement “during the interim period of time it takes to deploy advance[d] passenger screening technologies” and claiming “that advance[d] screening technologies, beyond those deployed [in 2009] will reduce or possibly eliminate perceptive profiling[.]”  As it turns out, Sikhs are still subjected to secondary pat down screenings, even after passing through AIT machines without incident, and other communities continue to report discriminatory treatment by TSA  personnel.  In this context, TSA needs to take its auditing options more seriously.

Internal TSA Documents Exposed by Sikh Coalition

 

 

 


Beyond a lifetime, still inspiring

August 16, 2010

~ By Sally Hartman, Sikh Coalition Legal Fellow

As my legal internship with the Sikh Coalition comes to a close, I have begun to reflect on my experience over the course of the past three months.  I feel fortunate that my time with the Coalition has been characterized by a unique blend of a legal and cultural education.  By getting to know the Coalition staff and hearing stories of victories in the community, I have come to realize the extent to which their lives truly embody the spirit of heartfelt advocacy.

Air Marshal Dr. Puran Singh Bajwa

I am mindful that none of this would have been possible without the generous support of the family of Dr. Puran Singh Bajwa.  Through honoring the memory of Dr. Bajwa, they have opened the door for countless other future attorneys to explore the rewarding and uplifting field of Civil Rights law.  This opportunity is consistent with the essence of Dr. Bajwa’s life.

As an Air Marshal in the Indian Army, Dr. Bajwa was noted throughout his career for his dignity and his proud practice of the Sikh faith, serving as an inspiration to many generations of military personnel who followed him. In his retirement, the advanced study and practice of Sikhism and teaching it to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was Dr. Bajwa’s chief pursuit in life. As a physician, highly decorated military officer, and community leader, Dr. Bajwa literally touched and made a lasting impact on tens of thousands of lives.

I am hopeful that my work this summer has, in some small way, been able to mimic the incredible dedication that characterized Dr. Bajwa’s life.  I have been honored to work alongside our staff attorneys to educate both the government and private-sector employers as to the Civil Rights of Sikh men and woman who are being discriminated against.  By familiarizing myself with the relevant legal context, honing my research skills, and drafting advocacy letters, I truly feel that I have taken a step forward in a promising direction.  I hope to continue this journey as I go forward in my education, and make Civil Rights Law a central part of my future practice.

Thank you once again to the family of Dr. Bajwa.  In helping make possible my experience this summer, you have honored his memory, established a meaningful opportunity for future lawyers, and bestowed a wonderful gift on the Sikh community.


First Sikh Army Grad in Over Two Decades, Photos

March 30, 2010

Check out photos from Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan’s graduation at Ft. Houston in San Antonio. Click here.

Though the Army’s policy of not allowing Sikhs to serve with their articles of faith intact remains in place, Sikhs can celebrate that Captain Rattan’s accommodation and successful completion of basic training proves Sikhs do not have to sacrifice their religion to serve effectively in the U.S. Army.


Bigotry in all the Wrong Places?

February 11, 2010

You may be surprised by who said this last week at a hearing of the Oregon House Education Committee (brace yourself):

“About every other year a new private school opens in Oregon,” GUESS WHO testified. Christian parents “have created those private Christian schools largely because they feel that the public school system is hostile to their religious beliefs. Those parents and people like them are going to feel even more so if their first-graders were being taught by Muslim women in burkas and Sikh teachers in turbans… I look forward to the day when the orthodox Jewish parent welcomes the fact that his 6-year-old daughter is going to be a captive audience in the Muslim teacher’s or the Wiccan teacher’s classroom for 180 days a year.” Read the rest of this entry »


Will Texas Students Learn About Sikhs?

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 »


SikhCo Responds to Colbert’s “Terrorist Midget” Image

January 13, 2010

Colbert Report Terrorist MidgetOn January 6, 2010, Sikhs made an appearance on Stephen’s Colbert’s popular daily news spoof, the Colbert Report. Unfortunately, it was not in a good light. In fact, the segment showed a man wearing a beard and full patka while the voiceover describes him as a “terrorist midget.”

Yes, some may consider this funny, but at the same time, it doesn’t do our community any favors. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Oregon Matters

January 12, 2010

In any nation, the promise of equal opportunity is measured by the extent to which minorities can pursue careers in public service. As evidenced by the post-9/11 Sikh experience, this promise is not always kept. Read the rest of this entry »


College Scholarship Opportunity

January 8, 2010

*Western Union Foundation’s Family Scholarship Program http://foundation.westernunion.com/ourProgramsScholarships.html is designed to help immigrant families improve their economic condition in the United States through education. Eligible families can receive up to $5,000 to finance college or university courses or ESL classes for two family members at once. The deadline is February 5, 2010. *
  Read the rest of this entry »


End Racial Profiling Act

December 8, 2009

For the past 8 years, Congress has been trying to pass the End Racial Profiling Act, a law that would bar certain law enforcement agencies from using racial profiling as a tool to search for suspects. The Sikh Coalition is supporting this bill because of the impact that racial profiling can and is having on a minority as visible as Sikhs. The Baltimore Sun yesterday published the following op-ed on the topic, which provides a few great stories as reference points for why racial profiling is an ineffective policing method. Take a look: Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


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