Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tom Perez
visits Charlotte Gurdwara Sahib on Baisakhi Day 4/14/2011
"In light of the recent shooting and killing of two Sikh gentlemen in
California -tragedies which are being investigated as hate crimes
-education, outreach, advocacy, and coalition building between
government agencies, non-profit organizations and the Sikh community
is becoming increasingly important."
International Civil & Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA) Coordinator
for UNITED SIKHS in North Carolina
- Sikh community members in Charlotte, North
Carolina met with Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, U.S.Attorney
Anne Tompkins, and staff members from the Department of Justice to
discuss important issues that affect the Sikh American community.
- UNITED SIKHS is forging stronger partnerships
with Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the U.S.
Attorney's Office.These partnerships allow for direct communication
with government agencies who can address civil rights issues impacting
the Sikh community.
- Members of the Sikh community must be vigilant
and report incidents of Racial/ Religious Profiling at Airports,
Bullying in Schools, and Hate Crimes.
UNITED SIKHS and the Sikh Gurdwara of Charlotte continue to collaborate
with federal law enforcement agencies across North and South Carolina
to highlight challenges faced by the Sikh community. On April 14, 2011,
Sikh community members hosted Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez from
the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ/ CRD), U.S.
Attorney Anne Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina, and
other staff members from the DOJ for a discussion about the civil
rights concerns of both the local and national Sikh community.
As part of our Protect Our Identity Campaign, UNITED SIKHS has worked
closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office, specifically with U.S.
Attorney Anne Tompkins, who is one of the 94 US Attorneys across the 50
states. In addition to these local collaborations, UNITED SIKHS
has been developing a relationship with Assistant Attorney General Tom
Perez, who leads the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division,
through quarterly inter-agency meetings in Washington, DC.
Assistant Attorney General Perez indicated that his department was
reviewing several hate crime incidents, land use, and discrimination
cases and stated that, “Security concerns can be addressed while
maintaining respect for liberties. We can and must do both.” He shared
his own story of the importance of diversity in maintaining the
fundamental values that make the U.S. an exemple for civil and human
Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez with
Sikh community members outside of the Gurdwara.
Sikh delegation with Department of Justice staff
In his opening comments, Pushpinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS ICHRA
Coordinator for North Carolina said, “Civil Rights are the cornerstone
of all modern nations, and protection of civil rights is an integral
part of UNITED SIKHS' mandate." Pushpinder went on to highlight several
civil rights challenges faced by the community including: racial/
religious profiling at airports, school bullying, workplace
discrimination, and hate crimes. He also highlighted the collaboration
between UNITED SIKHS and the DOJ to address many of these issues.
With support from Anne Tompkins and Fred Hudson (District Program
Manager for Western North Carolina), the UNITED SIKHS team in North
Carolina has been able to reach out to the local police department,
Sheriffs office, FBI field office, Department of Homeland Security and
Transportation Security Administration to raise awareness about Sikh
issues in a short period of time. The team has also recently attended 2
day long seminars on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate
Crimes Prevention Act in Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC.
This visit to the Charlotte Gurdwara is testimony to the diligence with
which the North Carolina sangat has reached out to lawmakers and
government agencies in bringing attention to Sikh American civil rights
Pushpinder Singh Addressing the Sangat
U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins
UNITED SIKHS would like to thank the DOJ, U.S. Attorney's Office, and
the Sikh sangat for engaging in such a productive dialogue. Such
collaborations help to address and correct the current climate of
animosity and hate that is all to pervasive. Dr. Surendrapal Singh,
President of the Sikh Gurdwara of Charlotte said, “Although the Sikh
faith was based on principals of equality and freedom more than 500
years ago, the very same Sikhs are facing issues related to civil
rights in the 21st century."
As part of UNITED SIKHS' year-round civil and human rights advocacy,
and the yearly national Sikh Summit in Washington DC, we engage in
dialogue to foster & facilitate relationships between government
agencies and local Sikh communities. UNITED SIKHS appreciates all the
support received from the Charlotte Sikh Gurdwara Committee and hopes
this continued collaboration will make a difference for Sikh community
members across the Carolinas as well as across the nation.
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Protect Our Identity (POI)
is an ongoing international campaign launched by UNITED SIKHS in August
2010 . It focuses on the need to protect the Sikh community's right to
express its religious identity. Initiatives under the POI
UNITED SIKHS is currently looking for
enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to spread the message of the
campaign within their own communities. To join or contribute to the
campaign, volunteer or donate to UNITED SIKHS.
- Right to Turban
- Airport Security in European Union and United States
- Anti-Bullying Initiatives
- Rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Pakistan
- Equality in Employment
- Right to Kakaars
- Recognition of Sikhs as a Religion
and Ethnicity in UK and US Census, and Raising Awareness of Sikhs and
Sikhism to reduce acts of violence and xenophobia against Sikhs.
You can help those affected by countless
crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the
UNITED SIKHS, which will provide immediate relief and support to those
in need. You may donate online at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate
or send your donations to a UNITED SIKHS office nearest to
you, whose details can be found at http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php
Ordinarily only 10 percent of your
donation is spent on admin costs.