Community Update

Allow Sikhs to Wear Turban and Beard in NY Police Dept: New York Comptroller

"The attack (on a Gurdwara) in Wisconsin reminds us that intolerance still rears its ugly head today. Sikhs have felt alienation and distress over the past decade since September 11. In the wake of the Wisconsin killings, which have shocked the national conscience, our City can enact meaningful inclusion of this community by changing NYPD rules to allow Sikhs to serve without having to forsake their turbans and beards," said Comptroller John C Liu in a letter today to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Highlights:

New York City, 10th Aug 2012 - The Chief Financial Officer of New York City, Comptroller John C. Liu, today called on Mayor Bloomberg to reform NY Police Department (NYPD) policy to allow Sikh officers to serve without having to forsake their turbans and beards. In a letter to the Mayor, Comptroller Liu commended the Mayor for his words of comfort and support to the City's Sikh community in the wake of the Wisconsin shootings, saying that now is the time for New York City to make a meaningful change of inclusion of Sikh members in the NYPD.

"Shouldn't the NYPD, providing security in one of the most diverse cities in the world, proudly display its own diversity?" Comptroller Liu said in his letter today as funeral services were taking place for the six victims who were killed during the terror attack on the Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara. You may read the letter in full here.

UNITED SIKHS and representatives of the NY Sikh community had a meeting with NYC Comptroller John C.Liu to discuss issues faced by the Sikh community, following the terror attack on the Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara on 5th August.

"It's imperative for people to know that Sikhs are woven into the fabric of American society and are not the ‘other.' One way to promote that is through increasing participation of Sikhs with turbans and beards in government jobs. We appreciate Comptroller Liu for taking the initiative to bring this up with the NYPD and assuring us of his continuous support" said Jasminder Kaur, Project manager of UNITED SIKHS, who attended the meeting with Comptroller Liu on 9th August 2012.

Harpreet Singh Toor, Chairman of Public and External Affairs for the Sikh Cultural Society, said: "It is heartening to see that all of America came out to support the Sikh community in this time of tragedy, but as long as the systematic discrimination continues at the city, state, and federal levels, Sikhs will always feel themselves to be lesser Americans than others. Why, after living in this great country for more than 100 years, do we have to prove every time that we are as much American as anybody else?"

Rabbi David Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America, said: "As wonderful a job as the NYPD does in carrying out its awesome responsibilities, New York's finest would be finer still if its membership reflected the full diversity of the beautiful mosaic that is New York City. Policies that have the effect of excluding members of certain faith communities because of their religious garb or grooming should be re-evaluated. I commend Comptroller Liu for raising this important issue."

Comptroller Liu added, "We must eliminate all religious barriers to joining the NYPD. Religious men from all faiths, whether they are Sikhs or Orthodox Jews, should be able to serve the people of New York City."

In Wisconsin, people congregated at the Wisconsin High School today to pay their final respects to the six Sikh community members who lost their lives in the Sikh Gurdwara terror attack on Aug 5th. Sikh prayers and hymns were sung and translated simultaneously during the funeral services.

Six Sikh community members were killed and many more were injured during the shooting attack at the Sikh Gurdwara at Wisconsin on 5th Aug. Among those who were killed are Sita Singh, 41, Male; Ranjit Singh, 49, Male; Satwant Singh Kaleka (President of the Gurdwara), 62, Male; Prakash Singh, 41, Male; Paramjit Kaur, 41, Female and Suveg Singh, 84, Male. Words are inadequate to express the sadness and sorrow being felt by the entire nation today.These brave souls will be remembered and missed forever.

Gyani Ji (Priest) doing Ardas at the funeral of the victims People gather at Wisconsin to pay homage to the victims

Trauma counsellors from UNITED SIKHS and government agencies and organizations are on the ground and working with the community to cope with the stress and trauma they are living with since the attack on 5th Aug. Vigils,taking place around the world, reflect on the senseless loss of life in Oak Creek Wisconsin USA. Please view UNITED SIKHS TV.

Communities arrange Vigils across the world to pay their respects

The Sikh community has been receiving letters of support and condolences from people of different faiths and communities. UNITED SIKHS has been uploading the letters on UNITEDSIKHS Blog and www.facebook.com/IPledgeAgainstHateCrime You may also follow us on Twitter @No2Hate.

Hate Crime is a serious issue that impacts us all and we must all join to BEAT it

To Carry out your Pledge against Hate Crime, we urge you to do the following NOW:

Please contact us at contact@unitedsikhs.org for any assistance, if you would like to contribute in any way. If you want to inform us about vigils or actions being organized across the communities please email vigil@unitedsikhs.org.

Please like us or give your comments on twitter @No2HateCrime and facebook www.facebook.com/ipledgeagainsthatecrime

We will continue to update the community on the latest developments. Let�s pray together for the innocent victims in this hour of crisis.

To speak to a UNITED SIKHS representative directly, please visit http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php to find an office near you.

Issued by:
Jatinder Singh
Director
UNITED SIKHS:
Phone: 1-510-421-0538, 1-888-243-1690, 1-646-688-3525
unitedsikhs-usa@unitedsikhs.org
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.