Community Voice

16 May 2005 2 Jayth 2, 537 NANAKSHAHI

UNITED SIKHS Joins Asian Pacific Organizations to Denounce Hate Remarks on the Radio

Ewing, NJ, USA - UNITED SIKHS joined a group representing the Asian Pacific, Arab, and other American minorities to condemn the recent racist remarks by two radio hosts on a New Jersey radio station. On April 25 2005, the radio hosts Craig Carton and Ray Rossi of NJ 101.5 FM launched a tirade of insults against members of the Asian Pacific American, Arab, Chinese, Indian, Korean and Japanese communities by saying that they were "fringe minorities" who had no place in dictating "the outcome of an American election". The hosts had also used racist labels such as "damn Orientals and Indians".

At a press conference, a coalition of minority organizations including UNITED SIKHS demanded an unreserved public apology from the radio hosts and insisted that disciplinary action be taken against the radio hosts by their station. The Coalition had earlier suggested that radio hosts be offered training so that they have a better understanding of the communities they serve.

Veronica Jung, Co-Coordinator of the Coalition Against Hate Media (CAHM), told the press conference that the radio station had told the coalition that the two radio hosts had been disciplined, but declined to reveal the details of the disciplinary action. However, the station had welcomed the suggestion of providing cultural sensitivity training for the radio station staff.

Photo 1. UNITED SIKHS' Manwinder Singh<br>Addressing the Media
Photo 1. UNITED SIKHS' Manwinder Singh
Addressing the Media

Manvinder Singh, programme co-ordinator of UNITED SIKHS' International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA) Directorate, told the press conference that even though the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to the freedom of speech, that freedom comes with the responsibility of the ensuring that defamatory and racist comments are not made of any member of the public. Mr. Singh reminded the meeting of the consequences of an irresponsible and un-informed media with the example of the Sikh community, which has been physically, mentally and socially harassed since the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy.

"Since the aftermath of 9/11, Sikhs have been victims of harassment, bias incidents and crimes, as well as discrimination. The media cannot run away from its responsibility to avoid these incidents. One of the first images shown on television after the 9/11 attacks was that of a Sikh being arrested on an Amtrak train and the media had labeled him a suspected terrorist. Later on in the week, Balbir Singh was murdered in Phoenix. This is not mere co-incidence but a direct consequence of irresponsible and un-informed media comments", explained Mr. Singh.

Photo 2. Representatives of the organizations that turned<br>up to show solidarity with the Asian Pacific Americans
Photo 2. Representatives of the organizations that turned
up to show solidarity with the Asian Pacific Americans

"UNITED SIKHS stands firm in defending the equal treatment and representation of all of humanity, regardless of religion, ethnicity and other man-made divisions. Comments such as those made by Mr. Rossi and Mr. Crate attack the very principles that the U.S. embodies in its laws and ethics and fuel further hatred and ignorance about the American minorities that reside in the U.S. UNITED SIKHS stands in firm support with the other Asian Pacific American organizations in condemning the inflammatory dialogue of the two radio hosts and demands that action be taken", Mr Singh added.

Our Mission

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.