Organizing Around Issues Affecting Elderly Sikhs

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.


Sikh Expert Featured on NBC

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 »

Last Call for Q1 Airport Reports

March 27, 2009

A Sikh TSA officer hired at San Francisco Airport last year is helping increase sensitivity towards Sikh passengers' articles of faith.

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 »

Sacramento Lobby Day

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 ( or Ravneet (

Video: Working with Sikh youth in Richmond Hill to stop bigotry in schools

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 »

Passport Update: Justice Brought to You By Darshan Singh

March 24, 2009

darshan-singhThe 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 »

Great Article in Colorlines Magazine

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):


March/April 2009

The War on Terror Fuels Racial Bullying

Community advocates demand policy changes as Sikh kids face more violence.