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This Press Release may be read online at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-25-07-2009-00.htm

Press Release: 25th July 2009,          10th Saavan (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi )

Press Release

Multi-faith Community Continues to Advocate Against Hate Crimes

Richmond Hill, Queens, NY, USA:
Last Sunday, UNITED SIKHS partnered with the Jewish Community Relations Council, Council of Peoples Organization, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the Queens County District Attorney in a proactive initiative to educate, empower, and provide resources to the Sikh community about hate crimes. Held at Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah, one of the largest Sikh

Michael Osgood, Commanding Officer of the Hate Crimes Task Force NYPD
Mariela Palomino Herring, Queens County Assistant District Attorney and Bureau Chief of Gang Violence and Hate Crimes

Gurdwaras in the country, speakers educated the local Sikh community as to what defines a hate crime, how to report a hate crime, how a hate crime is investigated, and how hate crime offenders are prosecuted differently than regular offenders. During the meeting, hate crime palm cards were distributed in Panjabi and were also available in English. The palm cards, which provide basic information about hate crimes and reporting, easily fit in a wallet or purse for quick and easy access.

Actual Palm Cards that were distributed at the Gurdwara

In his speech, Rabbi Bob Kaplan of the Jewish Community Relations Council stated, “It is so important that everyone, all faiths, work together to say: Hate is simply unacceptable, and as people of faith we will not tolerate Hate Crimes against any one or group.” Mohammad Razvi, Executive Director of the Council of Peoples Organization (COPO) followed up by stating, “No one is born to hate nor does their faith teach to hate. If a crime is committed against anyone we must stand together side by side sending a clear message to denounce it and demand justice.

Mariela Palomino Herring and Michael Osgood being honored with plaques
Rabbi Bob Kaplan and Mohamed Razvi being presented with Saropas
UNITED SIKHS urges all people to stand up for their constitutionally guaranteed rights, and urges the Sikh community to practice their faith freely and wear their turbans and articles of faith.

Do not hesitate to report your discriminatory experience. Contact UNITED SIKHS immediately to report your incident by telephone at 1-888-243-1690 or by email at law-usa@unitedsikhs.org

If you would like to sponsor Hate Crime Palm Cards for your community, contact us at contact@unitedsikhs.org

A hate crime against one is a crime against us all.” Michael Osgood, Commanding Officer of the Hate Crimes Task Force of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) spoke on the investigative aspect of hate crimes and commented, “I have the right to walk down the street as exactly the way I am, and so do you," when discussing how a person has the right to their own identity. Queens' County Assistant District Attorney Mariela Palomino Herring, Gang Violence and Hate Crimes Bureau Chief, educated the attendees about the legal definition of hate crimes and the effect of the addition of hate crime charges. Himmat Singh, President of the Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah, wrapped up the presentation by noting the importance of knowing about hate crimes when stating during the presentation "It's very important for the Sikh Community to understand hate crimes and we thank the speakers for this wonderful presentation."

The speakers were well received by members of the Sikh community and welcomed the hate crime palm cards. Commenting on the event, Jaspreet Singh, Staff Attorney of UNITED SIKHS stated, “It’s very important for the Sikh community remain vigilant against hate crimes, and to continue to educate the public as to who Sikhs are. Also, the community must continue to come forward and report incidents of bias and hate.”

UNITED SIKHS advises Sikhs and all other minorities who suffer racial profiling and hate crimes not to treat such incidents lightly. Victims of hate crimes and racial profiling are advised to contact UNITED SIKHS to advocate on their behalf. You may report a hate/bias crime/incident to UNITED SIKHS at http://unitedsikhs.org/hatecrime/

You may read a previous press release on UNITED SIKHS advocacy efforts against hate crimes at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-24-01-2009-00.htm

Issued By:
Rudy Medini
Law & Media Intern
Tel: 646-315-3909


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