Archive for the ‘Civil Rights’ Category.

Victory for Sikhs in South Carolina

A few months ago, UNITED SIKHS was approached by one of our volunteers in South Carolina, Jagmeet Singh, about a problem he was facing at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. He was requested to remove his turban to obtain his driver’s license, and they refused. You can read more about it here. UNITED SIKHS Legal Team wrote a letter to the South Carolina authorities, and we are happy to report that we’ve heard back from Jagmeet Singh. Earlier today, Jagmeet wrote to us, “I went to renew my SC Driver’s license today. I did not face any trouble. It was very smooth process. Last time DMV employees asked me to remove daastar to take picture and then UNITED SIKHS contacted SC authorities.”

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Comments on RTT Cases

Thanks to the advocacy work of the RTT Legal Team, USCIRF has expressed serious concerns about the Sikhs right to wear the turban in France, and concern about the recent European Court of Human Rights Decision against the Right to Turban (http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2650&Itemid=126). As you may be aware, the ECtHR dismissed the case as inadmissible based on a previous ruling that the ban on turbans is a proportionate response to the aims of protection of the rights and freedoms of others and the protection of public order. You can read more about the cases at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/rtt and at http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-16024-Europe-Policy-Examiner~y2009m7d17-European-Court-rules-against-the-Sikh-turban-in-French-schools

UNITED SIKHS Interns Lead Youth in Seva and Civil Rights Workshop

Plainview, NY, USA – Six UNITED SIKHS Law and Media Interns led a two-hour workshop and discussion session at the Sikh youth camp at the Guru Gobind Singh Sikh Center in Plainview, New York on July 15th. 108 children, ages 9-16, participated in the workshop. The workshop focused on the concept of seva (selfless service); it also included discussion regarding the turban and screened the film The Right to Turban, which details various cases involving the turban ban in France. The workshop ended with children filling out and discussing questionnaires on bullying.

The children were broken up into different discussion groups within the main group. The workshop began with a discussion focused on working within the small groups to formulate individual definitions of seva, along with discussing why seva is an important part of their faith and brainstorming service projects that qualified as seva. After the portion on seva, the discussion shifted to the turban. This presentation included a discussion on why Sikhs wear the turban and its significance in Sikhism. The children then watched the movie The Right to Turban, which focused on the turban ban in France, followed by a short discussion. The workshop concluded with a discussion surrounding bullying, including what kinds of bullying the children have experienced, how they dealt with it, and how it made them feel.

The Guru Gobind Singh Sikh Center has held a Sikh Camp every summer for the past seven years, with this year marking the highest attendance to date. The camp is everyday, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm for two weeks. The camp has a total of 210 campers, ages 6 to 16 and 23 volunteer counselors, age, 16-20.

“It was a great experience. Even at a young age, these children conveyed an immense sense of pride in their religion and culture. It was especially impressive how dedicated they are to the concept of seva, and how willing they are to act selflessly for the greater good of the community.” -Megan Collelo, Legal Intern

I think the kids and even the counselors learned a lot about some of the most important aspects of Sikhi that some realized that they completely misunderstood.” -Ravjot Bhasin, Counselor at the Gurudwara Camp

Sikhs of Peshwar Break their Silence. UNITED SIKHS steps up Advocacy

sikhsinpeshwargurd16th of July 2009, Pesahwar,  Pakistan:   In the third visit to meet the Sikhs in Peshawar the Sikhs broke out their silence of their situation and gave a detailed saga of the kidnapping of  Kalyan Singh.

Action Alert: May 1st, 2009:The NY Immigration Coalition Rally

May 1, 2009 Rally: 1:30pm in Madison Square Park!

Join The New York Immigration Coalition and over 20 labor unions and community organizations on May 1st, 2009. As President Obama’s First 100 Days come to an end, we call for three critical policies that are essential to the nation’s economic recovery: Continue reading ‘Action Alert: May 1st, 2009:The NY Immigration Coalition Rally’ »

Cong boycotts House over CM’s remarks

Both houses of Punjab (India) approve the bill in support of the Sikhs in France. This is amazing, thanks to all those who have stood for their rights. Continue reading ‘Cong boycotts House over CM’s remarks’ »

Indian Sikhs take up French turban rights issueWed Mar 4, 2009 6:57pm IST

Indian Sikhs take up French turban rights issueWed Mar 4, 2009 6:57pm ISTNEW DELHI, March 4 (Reuters) – Indian Sikhs urged the government on Wednesday to ask France to withdraw a ban on wearing turbans in public schools, officials said.The Sikh religion requires followers to grow their hair and wear a turban, while children must wear traditional Sikh headgear called the “patka” or “dastaar” in school. Continue reading ‘Indian Sikhs take up French turban rights issueWed Mar 4, 2009 6:57pm IST’ »