September 11 2010
22th Bhadon (Samvat 542 Nanakshahi)
Press Release

Town Hall Meetings Mark the Start of the Sikh Awareness and Community Outreach Campaign in the Carolinas

Charlotte, North Carolina: In August 2010, members and volunteers of UNITED SIKHS in North Carolina started a community partnership and Sikh Awareness campaign to form meaningful alliances with local NGOs and government institutions. The campaign, launched in Charlotte, aims to increase awareness about Sikhs in general, who are often targets of school bullying, racial profiling, employment discrimination and hate crimes because of their distinct external identity.

As part of the campaign, representatives from North Carolina and South Carolina, comprising of Amandeep Singh, Amardeep Singh and Pawanjit Singh, met with Dr. Peter Gorman, Superintendent of Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS). The discussion during the meeting focused on several opportunities of collaboration with CMS including ways to increase awareness about Sikhs, diversity training for teachers, and effectively manage school bullying, amongst other aspects. Dr. Gorman encouraged subsequent follow-up meetings and has also offered to include resources geared toward diversity education.

UNITED SIKHS Team with Nancy Carter, City Council Member   Amandeep Singh, Project Coordinator, UNITED SIKHS during a discussion with Sheriff Bailey

Amardeep Singh, UNITED SIKHS team member is excited about the prospect of future opportunities to collaborate. he says, "Both the Sheriff and the CMS supervisor were welcoming, and invited us for follow-up conversations on issues that Sikh community faces. They were willing to partner with community on educating about Sikh identity in schools and communities here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg area."

Members also met with Mecklenburg County Sheriff, Chipp Bailey to discuss concerns of the Sikh community in relation to law enforcement. Specific instances were highlighted where Sikhs were not allowed inside courtrooms because of their turbans, and these included a case in Mecklenburg County.  Sheriff Bailey was excited about partnering with UNITED SIKHS to conduct community outreach projects and diversity trainings for local law enforcement officers, and UNITED SIKHS has invited Sheriff Bailey to a town hall meeting at a local Gurdwara.

Earlier this month, UNITED SIKHS representatives Pushpinder Singh and Pawanjit Singh also met with Nancy Carter, City Council member; Alina MacNichol, Executive Director of Charlotte International Cabinet and Eric Law of International House. These discussions centered on ways to collaborate for several community resources.

UNITED SIKHS is grateful to Ms. Mirin Kaur of Kaur Foundation & Ms. Gurmeet Kaur of OneLight Films for providing resources for school awareness campaign.

To see a previous press release on UNITED SIKHS community awareness programs, please visit: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-09-07-2010-00.html

To initiate community awareness activities in your neighborhood, please contact UNITED SIKHS, or donate to ongoing community outreach and advocacy activities.

Issued By:
Pawanjit Singh

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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.

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.