Community Voice

30 May 2005 16th Jayt'h (Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)

New Jersey radio station makes on-air apology for racial slurs and agrees to provide staff training on cultural awareness

New Jersey - A month long effort to obtain reconciliation over inflammatory comments by NJ 101.5 FM came to a satisfactory close on May 25, 2005, one month after inflammatory comments were made by two radio hosts against the Asian Pacific community. Shock jocks Ray Rossi and Craig Carton issued an on air apology for their remarks targeting the Asian American and Arab American communities. The radio station also agreed to the terms of reconciliation issued by the New Jersey/National Taskforce Against Hate Media and the New Jersey Coalition for Asian American Civil Rights. Under the terms of reconciliation, the radio station also agreed to: provide cultural sensitivity training for their staff, implement strict policy over inflammatory racial comments, issue a public statement that is to be accessible on the station's website and promote Asian American events.

The initial incident took place on April 25, 2005 on a radio program hosted by the "Jersey Guys" Ray Rossi and Craig Carton, in which the shock jocks labelled Asian, Indian and Arab communities of the U.S. as "fringe groups" and "foreigners" which had no business in dictating "…the outcome of an American election". In response to these outrageous comments, concerned community-based organizations including UNITED SIKHS formed the New Jersey/National Taskforce Against Hate Media.. After weeks of organization and planning, the Task Force and other concerned organizations organized a press conference to make their concerns public to the media. In a Press Conference, representatives of the Task Force's member organizations made the press aware of the incident, its implications and the Task Force's resolve to ensure that the "Jersey Guys", 101.5 FM and their parent company, Millennium Central Jersey, apologize for the incident and engage in sensitivity training for the staff at 101.5 FM. UNITED SIKHS ICHRA Program Coordinator Manvinder Singh was invited to address the media and give the viewpoint of the Sikh community. Mr. Singh spoke on the media's responsibility towards free speech which does not unfairly and wrongly target a minority group. Citing the post 9/11 murder of Balbir Singh in Arizona, he reminded the media that though one of the freedoms that every American cherishes is that of the freedom of speech, it comes with responsibility to understand the repercussions any statement made might have.

UNITED SIKHS, which is a member of The New Jersey/National Taskforce Against Hate Media, congratulates all the participating organizations that devoted themselves tirelessly to this campaign for justice and equality. We at UNITED SIKHS are committed to ensuring that all communities are treated with dignity and respect and that its members do not become victims of biased and racist comments and we will continue to stand by those devoted to that same cause.

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.