UNITED SIKHS
July 9 2010
25th Harh (Samvat 542 Nanakshahi)
Press Release
UNITED SIKHS Partners With Law Enforcement Agency to Talk about Sikhs and Sikh Identity
Livingston, California: Thirty police officers of the City of Livingston police department attended an information session on Sikhism and Sikh identity on June 16, 2010. The information session was requested by Livingston Police Chief Doug Dunford, who approached UNITED SIKHS to educate his entire police department about the Kirpan, and other Sikh articles of faith to improve understanding about Sikh Americans.

Mohani Kaur, Coordinator in Central Valley, successfully arranged an extensive four hour workshop jointly conducted by Kashmir Singh, Director, Mohani Kaur, and Japneet Kaur, youth volunteer for the organization.   The City of Livingston is home to a large Sikh community, who comprise around 20% of the population.  Chief Dunford remarked that his primary motivation behind arranging the training was to gain a better understanding of the community. “I want to know everything about Sikh culture so I can serve my community better,” he said.

UNITED SIKHS Coordinator Mohani Kaur presenting the UNITED SIKHS Team with Police Chief Dunford

               
The training aimed to provide a comprehensive look at the Sikh identity and the Sikh way of life. Police officers were given an overview of Sikh history, origin and core values of Sikhism. Then they were presented with details and importance of the Dastar, Kirpan and other articles of faith. Police officers were also introduced to the Gurdwara structure and protocols. Throughout the four hour training, the officers, some of whom were attending the session on their day off, remained highly interested and engaged, and exchanged substantial information with the Sikh presenters. Thanks to the generosity of local Sikh community member S. Buta Singh, the police department also sampled delicious Indian food.

Attendees paying close attention to the information being presented

Officers enjoying lunch

           

Collaborations with law enforcement agencies are very important, particularly in light of the discrimination and xenophobia the Sikh community has faced post 9/11. UNITED SIKHS believes that spreading awareness and education is key to addressing issues such as hate crimes, bullying in schools and violence due to mistaken identity. “We know we play a great role in order to make this country stronger and we carry strong values with us. There is strong need to outreach and say who we are”, said California director Kashmir Singh.

Chief Dunsford was pleased with the response to the session and has shown interest in continuing these on a regular basis. “We are now outreaching and asking these agencies to contact us in order to clear all the misunderstanding about our identity”, said Mohani Kaur.  The Chief will encourage his neighboring city chiefs to expand on these awareness sessions in Central Valley.

We at UNITED SIKHS greatly appreciate and applaud the initiative taken by Chief Dunsford. If you are approached to make a Sikh Awareness presentation to a group, or would like to take a similar initiative in your community, please contact UNITED SIKHS at unitedsikhs-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

To read a previous press release about UNITED SIKHS Education-Empowerment Projects, please visit: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-16-06-2010-00.html



Issued by:
Rucha Kavathe
Media and Communications Coordinator
646-315-3909


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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.

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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.

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