Civil Rights – UNITED SIKHS Blog http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog Recognize The Human Race As One Fri, 01 Sep 2017 23:45:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 CA Elderly Sikh Man Attacked, Humiliated, Disrespected: Bias Crimes MUST be STOPPED! http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/05/ca-elderly-sikh-man-attacked-humiliated-disrespected-bias-crimes-must-be-stopped/ Fri, 10 May 2013 17:05:12 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1971 Written by Sharon Persaud and Anisha Singh

 

Fresno, California– BIAS ATTACK, HATE CRIME, BRUTALITY… no matter what it is called, IT MUST STOP NOW! This week, a California, elderly, Sikh man was violently attacked outside the gurdwara he faithfully attends to practice his religion. Eighty-two year-old Piara Singh, was beaten with a steel pipe outside a Fresno temple in what police believe is a hate crime. Singh spends his nights at Nanaksar Sikh Temple in Fresno, California, to watch over the grounds and prepare langaar, the free daily meals that Sikh temples traditionally serve. According to his nephew, Charanjit Sihota, on the morning of Sunday, May 5th, 2013, , Singh left the temple grounds for a morning walk dressed in his usual traditional clothing. Singh’s son, Kawal Singh, was driving to the temple to pick up his father when up ahead he saw a man jump off his bicycle and beat Singh with something metal. He honked the horn and called 911.[1] Singh is expected to make a full physical recovery after suffering a punctured lung, fractured jaw and staples in his head due to lacerations.

But what about Singh’s emotional recovery? Too often, members of the Sikh community become victims to hate crimes, bias-based bullying, and discrimination throughout the United States.While we live in a country created by many cultures, races, and religions, we still see these attacks frequently occurring even in the 21st century. Because Singh wears a turban on his head does not mean he is any different from the Caucasian man waiting for the bus, or the African American man entering the store, or the Hispanic woman playing with her child in the playground. Just like them, he is a husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend.  He is a human being regardless of the faith he follows.

Representative Judy Chu (D-CA), co-chair of the American Sikh Caucus, released a solemn statement to the public stating, “My heart broke when I heard about the suspected hate crime on Piara Singh, an elderly Sikh man dedicated to his faith and his community. He was doing what he did every day, volunteering at his gurdwara, when a man viciously attacked him.  In the wake of Oak Creek and Elk Grove, it is clear that hysteria and stereotyping are still far too common.  We must combat the growing wave of violence and intolerance that threatens the safety and civil liberties of all Americans, including the Sikh American community. That is why I have pushed the FBI to finally begin tracking hate crimes against the American Sikh community.  This will help law enforcement officers in every locality to do all they can to prevent violence against this – and all – communities.  We cannot wait any longer.”

Since September 11, the world has been gripped by fear and many minority communities, including the Sikh community, have suffered from the backlash of misinformation and ignorance. The first reprisal killing after Sept 11 was of a Turban wearing Sikh in Arizona, who was mistaken as belonging to the group which perpetrated the 9/11 incident. Sikhs, due to their unique appearance, have since been a target of hate and bias crime and discrimination. Every week, UNITED SIKHS receives reports from Sikh adults and children who are victims of race-based hate crimes and those being denied their right to practice their religion. A Sikh’s right to wear his articles of faith has been challenged in schools, the workplace, prisons and other public places. Sikhs also suffer increased harassment by TSA officials at airports because they wear the Turban.

While the fear of another attack is understood, nothing justifies channeling that fear through violence towards others based on stereotypes perpetuated by the media.  UNITED SIKHS continues to work to stop the cycle by creating awareness of these issues amongst authorities and the public through talks, seminars, and multifaith events. In addition, UNITED SIKHS offers advice, counsel and legal representation to those whose legal rights are being denied by errant and mis-informed authorities and the public.

Manvinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS Director, attended the town hall meeting at Nanaksar Sikh Temple in Fresno on the evening of Tuesday, May 7th to discuss this vicious attack on Piara Singh. There were 300 attendees including police officials and Fresno’s Police Chief that spoke out against hate crimes and the need to educate society on the Sikh religion and its worshippers.

 

1. Marcum, Diana. “Sikh Man, 82, Beaten with Pipe in Fresno in Suspected Hate Crime.” Los Angeles Times., 8 May 2013. Web. 9 May 2013.

 

Mr. Piara Singh

Mr. Piara Singh

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UNITED SIKHS Joins Elected Officials to Commemorate Illinois House Resolution 1193, Denouncing Hate Crimes Against Sikh Americans and Other Minorities http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/12/united-sikhs-joins-elected-officials-to-commemorate-illinois-house-resolution-1193-denouncing-hate-crimes-against-sikh-americans-and-other-minorities/ Sat, 22 Dec 2012 03:46:40 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1784 Palatine, Illinois: On Sunday, December 16th, UNITED SIKHS joined the South Asian and Sikh community at Palatine Gurdwara to commemorate the passing of House Resolution 1193 (HR 1193). This Resolution denounces the deplorable attacks on Sikh Americans and denounces hate crimes and hateful political rhetoric.

UNITED SIKHS worked with South Asian Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI), Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago (CAIR-Chicago) and the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago (Palatine Gurdwara Management Committee) in drafting the language and advocating for this resolution. “We hope the resolution will provide an agenda for even more specific laws for the future,” said Ami Gandhi, Executive Director at SAAPRI.

Rep. Biss (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Rep. Biss speaking to Palatine Gurdwara Sangat (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ald. Pawar, Greg Bales, Rep. Biss and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ald. Pawar, Greg Bales, Rep. Biss and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Rep. Mussman (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Rep. Mussman  speaking to Palatine Gurdwara Sangat (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palatine Gurdwara President Sukhdev Kaur began the commemoration by observing a moment of silence for the victims of the Newtown Connecticut shooting and making a request that the congregation pray for the families of the victims. Among the elected officials who made remarks at the commemoration and the press conference that followed were Senator Matt Murphy (27th District), Rep. Daniel Biss (17th District), Rep. Michelle Mussman (56th District), Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) and Greg Bales from US Senator Dick Durbin’s office.

Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Rep. Biss and Rep. Mussman (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Rep. Biss and Rep. Mussman (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar, Vikram Singh, Amrith Kaur, Rep. Biss, Sukhdev Kaur and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar, Vikram Singh, Amrith Kaur, Rep. Biss, Sukhdev Kaur and Sen. Murphy (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Community at Press Conference (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Community at Press Conference (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We are excited to work with our state legislators, faith-based groups, and policy organizations to promote tolerance and counter bigotry,” said Rabya Khan, Staff Attorney at CAIR-Chicago. “This resolution is a first step in acknowledging that there is a greater need to educate the greater Illinois community on Sikh Americans and other minorities,” said Ekta Kaur, Regional Director of UNITED SIKHS. She added “Our community and the Illinois government must work together to create further programs to help prevent hate crimes and uphold our civil rights.”

Shiva Singh, Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Vikram Singh and Rep. Biss (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

Shiva Singh Khalsa, Ald. Pawar, Sen. Murphy, Vikram Singh and Rep. Biss (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar, Vikram Singh, Amrith Kaur, Rep. Biss, Sukhdev Kaur, Sen. Murphy, Rajinder Mago, Balwant Hansra, Ami Gandhi, Gurdwara Attendee, Ahmed Rehab (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

UNITED SIKHS, SAAPRI, CAIR-Chicago and Sikh Religious Society of Chicago with Elected Officials (Photo courtesy of SAAPRI)

Tejas Shah, Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar and Vikram Singh (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

Tejas Shah, Ekta Kaur, Ald. Pawar and Vikram Singh (Photo courtesy of CAIR-Chicago)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: Recent article by local journalist Mariam Khan, “State lawmakers’ new anti-hate resolution could boost Chicago’s immigrant-friendly drive.”

To volunteer in the greater Chicago area, please contact Ekta Kaur at ekta.kaur@unitedsikhs.org.

Vikram Singh
Pro Bono Counsel
UNITED SIKHS (Illinois)
Tel: 888-243-1690
vikram.singh@unitedsikhs.org

UNITED SIKHS – Recognize the Human Race as One

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Allow Sikh Officers the Right to Maintain their Turbans and Beards- Sign the petition! http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/09/allow-sikh-officers-the-right-to-maintain-their-turbans-and-beards-sign-the-petition/ Sat, 29 Sep 2012 15:28:28 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1682 29th Sep 2012  | 15th Assu (Samvat 544 Nanakshahi)

Allow Sikh Officers the Right to Maintain their Turbans and Beards- Sign the petition!

Highlights

  • UNITED SIKHS co-sponsors the petition with Comptroller Liu for NYPD to Reform Religious Garb Policy supported by Sikh Gurdwaras of NYC, Sikh Organizations and activists.
  • The petition can be found at http://comptroller.nyc.gov/sikh/


New York, NY: UNITED SIKHS calls on all members of the Sikh community to take an active role in signing the petition enacted,  Sep 28th,  by City Comptroller John C. Liu. The petition calls  for NYPD to reform their dress code policies to allow Sikh officers the right to maintain their turbans and beards.

“The NYPD shouldn’t force Sikhs to choose between serving their City and honoring their faith,” remarked Comptroller Liu at the press conference this morning. “Changing these policies would show that New York City deserves its reputation as a global capital of religious acceptance.”

The MTA and Washington D.C. police department have already made changes to their policies to allow for religious freedom. It is now time now that NYPD do the same by opening their doors to diversity, integration, and religious freedom.

Jatinder Singh, Associate Director of UNITED SIKHS spoke at the press conference and quoted Martin Luther King as he observed, “‘The time is always right to do the right things, and I think the time has come that Mayor Bloomberg should make his move. This is the right time to amend the policies and allow New York City Sikhs to serve in the New York City police department with dignity, and practicing their own religion in full form as they wish, like any citizen is allowed today.” He concluded, “It’s about time that Sikh faces are shown in official places”. 

 
Comptroller Liu Addressing the need for Sikhs to serve in NYPD with their Turbans and Beards with New York City Community Jatinder Singh, Associate Director of UNITED SIKHS in NY addressing concerns. President of Sikh Cultural Society Dr Gurdev Singh Kang (Extreme Left), Comptroller Liu, New York State Assembly member-David I. Weprin, Advisor Gurdeep Singh Narula (Extreme Right)

If  New York City truly represents the capital of diversity in America, then the NYPD should have no hesitance in amending their policies to allow fully turbaned and bearded Sikhs to maintain their physical identity while serving their city.

Your help is needed to make this possible- please sign the petition and make sure to pass it on to all your family and friends.

Help us to continue our mission to serve the Sikh Community by making your tax deductible donation today.

If you feel you have been a target of a bias based crime/incident, please report it here.

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

Issued By:
Manvinder Singh, Director
International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy
UNITED SIKHS
Tel: 1-646-688-3525;1-888-243-1690
Fax: 1-810-885-4264
Email: unitedsikhs-usa@unitedsikhs.org
http://www.unitedsikhs.org 

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Alabama, Land of the Scared http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2011/10/alabama-land-of-the-scared/ Thu, 06 Oct 2011 21:22:57 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1149 This week Alabama passed immigration legislation that turns the police force, whose primary duty is to protect, into immigration officials with the power to question anyone, where there is “reasonable suspicion”, about their immigration status. Moreover, schools which are supposed to provide a nurturing and safe environment are now responsible for recording the undocumented status of their students. In case there was any doubt about the devastating implications of this law for the Hispanic community in Alabama, one only had to read this week’s headlines: “After Ruling, Hispanics Flee…” (New York Times), “Hispanic Students Vanish from Alabama Schools…” (Associated Press). The State of Alabama has confirmed that over 2,000 Hispanic children never showed up for school on Monday.

Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of both the adoption and subsequent upholding of this legislation is that Alabama has sanctioned the ethnic cleansing of the Hispanic community. Would you stay in a place where you felt constantly “suspect” based on your appearance, where a minor traffic violation could result in deportation, and where every contract you’ve signed could become null and void? When legislation is aimed at demonizing specific communities and ultimately gains judicial sanction, these targeted communities are then relegated to second class status.

It is important to note that this law has implications for all people of color in Alabama, not just Hispanics. Suddenly, communities that have lived under a “specter of suspicion” since 9/11 may also be asked for their papers. Ultimately, there is nothing to stop officials from targeting those they deem to be “foreign” (i.e. South Asians, Sikhs, Muslims, and Arabs) because of their skin color, language, or religious/ cultural dress. In the last decade, we as a country have unconscionably moved to treating an entire segment of our population, specifically those with brown skin, as “suspect”. Thus, these laws mete out collective punishment on a large segment of the U.S. population irrespective of whether they are here lawfully or unlawfully.

Foster Maer, Senior Council at LatinoJustice PRLDEF explains, “The venomous legislative and political attacks on undocumented immigrants that we see these days signals to the public that it is okay to demonize, and thus to hate, immigrants, which inevitably leads to violence against immigrants. The events in Patchogue and in Farmingville, New York, in Allentown, PA, and elsewhere have demonstrated this to be true.”

The disproportionate response to addressing a complex and multi-layered issue such as immigration is disgraceful because it forces families to uproot their lives and flee their homes, schools, and communities. Every single Alabaman, regardless of racial, ethnic, or religious affiliation, will be impacted by the creation of a defacto police state. All that is left to say is . . . welcome to the land of the scared.

By: Nomi Teutsch, UNITED SIKHS/ TBFF Faith Fellow TBFF and Hansdeep Singh, UNITED SIKHS Senior Staff Attorney

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EEOC provides update on number of cases filed for employment discrimination since 9/11 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2010/03/eeoc-provides-update-on-number-of-cases-filed-for-employment-discrimination-since-911/ Wed, 31 Mar 2010 20:28:49 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=884 According to the latest EEOC report forwarded to UNITED SIKHS, between 9/11/2001 and 3/11/2010, 1,024 charges were filed under Title VII alleging post-9/11 backlash employment discrimination. These numbers have more than doubled since 9/11. 5 charges remain open as of 3/11/2010.

As of 3/11/2010, 153 individuals aggrieved by post-9/11 backlash discrimination in employment have received over $4,226,000 in monetary benefits through the administrative efforts of the EEOC.

UNITED SIKHS has been working endlessly with EEOC to solve cases of employment discrimination against Sikhs and has been involved in extensive training efforts to spread awareness amongst the EEOC officials regarding the importance of the five kakaars.

If you have faced any problems or harassment at work due to your kakaars, please contact us at law-usa@unitedsikhs.org. We will make sure your voice is heard. Also, if you wish, we will work with you to conduct trainings for your organization to spread awareness and prevent unpleasant happenings for you and your employer.

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