ICHRA – UNITED SIKHS Blog https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog Recognize The Human Race As One Fri, 01 Sep 2017 23:45:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sikh gentleman from New Jersey has gone missing. https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/09/sikh-gentleman-from-new-jersey-has-gone-missing/ https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/09/sikh-gentleman-from-new-jersey-has-gone-missing/#comments Thu, 27 Sep 2012 17:22:16 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1671 Glenrock, New Jersey:   A Sikh gentleman  Sukhvinder Singh  from New Jersey. has gone missing.

More information can be found here: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Police-Search-for-Missing-Winslow-Twp-Man–170337826.html.

He works at a BP gas station in Winslow Township, New Jersey. He was last seen at the gas station around 7:30 on the evening of September 18th. He did not come home that evening and has not been seen since.

For any information please call 911.  Please also call  UNITED SIKHS at  888-243-1690 for the appropriate authorities to be notified.  You can also write to law-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

Gurpreet Singh
P: 888-243-1690 | 646-688-3525

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Victory in California https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/09/victory-in-california/ Sat, 08 Sep 2012 20:58:06 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1617 Governor Brown Speaks & Signs Legislation Bills AB 1964 & SB 1540 at Capitol Hill

Highlights:

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signs the AB 1964(Yamada) SB 1540 (Hancock) today. State Senator – California Senate District 09. The Sikh community is thankful to Governor Brown for upholding the Civil Liberties by signing the bills. 
SB 1540  (Hancock):Introduced by State Senator – California Senate District 09: Introduced by Assembly Member Loni Hancock. This bill will now requires the California State Board of Education to consider the adoption of a revised the history-social science framework. Senator Hancock has spent nearly four decades as a forceful advocate for open government, educational reform, environmental protection, economic development, and social justice. UNITED SIKHS thanks Senator Hancock and her staff and also all indivduals, organizations and especially Dr Onkar Singh Bindra, the pioneer behind the bill
AB 1964 (Yamada) :  Introduced  by  Assembly Member Mariko Yamada- California’s 8th district. Provides reasonable accomodations to Discrimination in Employment. Coauthor(s): Assembly Member Allen, Cedillo, Dickinson, Fong, Bonnie Lowenthal, Senator Corbett, DeSaulnier, La Malfa, Lieu, Rubio, Steinberg, Yee. An act to amend Sections 12926 and 12940 of the Government Code, relating to employment. UNITED SIKHS thanks Assembly Member Yamada and her staff and also thanks sister organization, the Sikh Coalition that pioneered this bill.

Sacramento, California: UNITED SIKHS thanks everyone who supported  in signing the UNITED SIKHS petition, all organizations and individuals in California who helped pass the SB 1540. A special thanks goes to Dr Onkar Singh Bindra who has been the pioneer behind SB 1540.  We also thank the organizations and the individuals who have done collective effort in the passing of the AB 1964. These are victories that belong to the community and show that justice is delivered through the statutes designed to protect the civil rights of all individuals and to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability.

Mohini Kaur said, “The Wisconsin tragedy has shocked the community. Unfortunately it required a tragic event this big to force the legislative assembly to move quickly and listen to the woes of the Sikh community. We welcome the changes but do it with a heavy understanding as to the price, the community has paid and remember the one’s who died.”  Miss  Kaur is the only Sikh who served on the History  Curriculum Adoption Committee and is the community outreach coordinaor in Central Valley for UNITED SIKHS.

Harpreet Singh, Legislative Director UNITED SIKHS, said, “We thank Governor Brown who has listened to the voice of the community and agreed to bring in changes. We also urge Governor Brown to look at  issues inclusive of domestic terrorism, census and issues related to hate crime within California. These bills are small step paving the way for bigger positive changes for the community.”

Dr. Onkar Singh Bindra, the pioneer behind SB 1540 (Hancock). He has been a watchdog to monitor information about Sikhism in the school textbooks of California. The change he has brought in school textbooks is just another example prompted by concerns about giving offense to any racial, ethnic or religious groups. He is a Retired Professor of Entomology & Project Manager of FAO(UNO)

S. Ram Singh, President of  American Gurdwara Council, said, “We are thank-ful to Governor Brown for passing these bills. But the community should understand that these bills are a very tiny step towards the inclusion of the Sikh Identity. For example, this will not include all our Kakkars to be included as a part of our Identity but will pave the way forward and should be continued.”

UNITED SIKHS also asks all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly and report any racially biased incidents to them. If you feel you have been a target of a bias based crime/ incident, please report it here

Please continue to support our work by making your tax deductible donation today by clicking here .

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

Issued By:
Manwinder Singh, Director
International Civil Human Rights Advocacy

UNITED SIKHS
Tel: 1-888-243-1690; 1-510-999-7726, 1-510-421-0538

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Brutal beating of a 72 year old Sikh man in NJ, followed by arrest for keeping Kirpan, an article of Sikh faith https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/08/brutal-beating-of-a-72-year-old-sikh-man-in-nj-followed-by-arrest-for-keeping-kirpan-an-article-of-sikh-faith/ https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/08/brutal-beating-of-a-72-year-old-sikh-man-in-nj-followed-by-arrest-for-keeping-kirpan-an-article-of-sikh-faith/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2012 04:47:15 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1561
UNITED SIKHS
Aug 23rd, 2012
8th Bhadon (Samvat 543 Nanakshahi)
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Press Release
Brutal beating of a 72 year old Sikh man in NJ, followed by arrest for keeping Kirpan, an article of Sikh faithPaterson, New Jersey: 72 year old Avtar Singh, a gas station owner and one of the founding members of Glen Rock Gurdwara in New Jersey, was brutally beaten by his neighbor, Edward Koscovski, who owns a car business in Paterson (New Jersey) and shares a common driveway with Avtar Singh.

           
Bhai Avtar Singh, 72 year old man, founding member of the Glenrock Gurdwara in New Jersey Site where the incident took place in Paterson, New Jersey

On July 26th, Avtar Singh Ji went to Edward Koscovski’s shop to request him to move his truck that was parked and blocking the entrance of Avtar Singh’s gas station. The request turned into an altercation in which Avtar Singh Ji was brutally assaulted. “I kept on yelling that please let me go but nothing moved Edward from hitting me. When I turned around using all my strength, Edward smashed my face, broke my teeth and kept punching me in the stomach. He grabbed my Kirpan and threw it at his attendant. The attendant removed the Kirpan from the mian (cover) and hid the mian (cover) in a room inside. He also snatched my phone and put it out of sight” said Avtar Singh, who suffered injuries to his face and stomach.

Upon arrival at the scene, the police arrested the 72 year old Avtar Singh and charged him with posession of a weapon  (Kirpan). He was questioned before anyone attended to his injuries and then taken to the hospital and was handcuffed to the hospital bed during his stay at the hospital. He was then taken to the police station and jailed till his family members filed his bail application.

The Kirpan is one of the five K’s – Kesh (uncut hair covered by turban), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (metal bracelet) , Kachera (specific cotton undergarment) and Kirpan (small dagger) – that is carried by initiated Sikhs at all times.

UNITED SIKHS has contacted the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service Division in the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as the State of New Jersey Attorney General’s office for investigation and is following up on Avtar Singh’s case to be heard next Thursday. UNITED SIKHS will also follow up with the Paterson police regarding the questionable behavior of the police officer who arrested Avtar Singh.

Although this incident occurred prior to the Wisconsin tragedy, it reinforces the lack of cultural sensitivity training within law enforcement agencies, especially regarding the Sikh Kakkars/articles of faith. The five K’s – Kesh (uncut hair covered by turban), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (metal bracelet) , Kachera (specific cotton undergarment) and Kirpan (small dagger) are carried by initiated Sikhs at all times.

UNITED SIKHS will continue to assist Avtar Singh on his right to practice his faith and carry the Kirpan.

UNITED SIKHS also asks all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly and report any racially biased incidents to them. If you feel you have been a target of a bias based crime/ incident, please report it here

Please continue to support our work by making your tax deductible donation today by clicking 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
http://www.unitedsikhs.org

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UNITED SIKHS as always asks you to practise your faith freely and without any fear.You can contact UNITED SIKHS at a location near you at the URL-
http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php

 

OUR MISSION

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.

 

 

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Sikhs Killed in USA Terror Attack on Sikh Gurdwara (place of worship) https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/08/1465/ Sun, 05 Aug 2012 22:40:46 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1465 Sikhs Killed in USA Terror Attack on Sikh Gurdwara (place of worship)

Dr Harcharan Gill, who was at the scene said, “The police response was quick but the paramedic team waited for almost two hours to go inside the Gurdwara building,  sensing the possibility of of another shooter, which was not the case. The community is in deep shock, we never thought that this could have happened with us.”

HIGHLIGHTS
i) As of now, 6 Sikhs and the gunman have been confirmed dead with multiple wounded (at least 2 dozen).
UNITED SIKHS has executed the following actions:
(ii) Set up a Task Force to work with law enforcement agencies in the USA to ensure that the Sikh community is reassured of its safety
(iii)Extended our National Helpline at 1-855-US-UMEED for the Wisconsin Gurdwara incident victims
 (iv)Called on the Sikh community to be vigilant and to step up security without causing an alarm but by being on alert.
 (v)Called on the interfaith community to show solidarity by holding prayer vigils in places of worship
 (vi) Mobilized the UNITED SIKHS Emergency Response Team which is on its way to Wisconsin..
 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 5th Aug 2012 – UNITED SIKHS strongly condemns the shooting of innocent Sikhs attending a morning prayer service today at a Gurdwara (place of worship) in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek. This is very disturbing news for the entire Sikh American Community and the Sikh diaspora worldwide. The incident has been labeled as a well organized crime of terror. Reports suggest that the initial perpetrator was a heavy build, bald, white male who had two handguns and started shooting at the devotees indiscriminately in the Gurdwara parking lot as they were heading for the morning service.

The gunman also shot a police officer attending to the crime scene, multiple times. Reports also suggest of children and the head priest being held as hostage inside the temple premises. Multiple people have been shot and the number of fatalities as of now, including one gunman, are seven. There are reports of bodies lying in the temple parking lot.

We request community members to stay alert and inform law enforcement agencies and UNITED SIKHS about any suspicious activity. We are in constant touch with the White House, the DOJ, FBI and local law enforcement. We have received the following message from the White House:

“The President was alerted to the shooting incident in Wisconsin at 12:51PM Eastern and continues to be updated by federal law enforcement agencies.  We will keep you posted.”

As of now 6 Sikhs are confirmed dead:  1 Kathavachak (spiritual discourse giver), 2 sewadars (helpers) at the Gurdwara (place of worship), one woman, one old gentleman, and the  identity of another is unknown. The single gunman is also confirmed dead.

“This act of terror has left the community in shock and we are counting on law enforcement agencies to make a statement soon to reassure the community,” said Manwinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS community advocacy director.

We will keep you updated on the latest developments.  Let’s pray together for the innocent victims in this hour of crisis.

Issued by:
Jatinder Singh
Director
UNITED SIKHS
P: 1-510-421-0538 | 1-888-243-1690 | 1-646-688-3525
unitedsikhs-usa@unitedsikhs.org
http://unitedsikhs.org

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

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Action Alert: Support the End Racial Profiling Act https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/04/action-alert-support-the-end-racial-profiling-act/ https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/04/action-alert-support-the-end-racial-profiling-act/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:53:05 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1251 April 17, 2012 – Today, Senator Dick Durbin, Chairman of the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights Subcommittee in the Senate Judiciary Committee, has convened the first  Senate hearing on racial profiling since September 11th. Over the past ten years, South Asian, Muslim, Sikh and Arab communities living in the United States have been targeted for heightened scrutiny by law enforcement based on their religion, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality. Examples include frequent searches by airport security and border inspection officers, mandatory registration of certain male nationals from predominantly Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, under the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program, and targeted surveillance of South Asian places of worship by federal and local law enforcement. In a statement for the record submitted for the Senate hearing,SAALT underscored the ongoing harmful effects of profiling on South Asian community members. 

 Profiling of South Asian community members continues to this day, as most recently documented in a report, In Our Own Words: Narratives of South Asian New Yorkers Affected by Racial and Religious Profiling. Issued by the New York City Profiling Collaborative including DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving, The Sikh Coalition, UNITED SIKHS, South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!), Coney Island Avenue Project, Council of Peoples Organization, and SAALT, this report highlights the impact of profiling on individuals sense of identity and belonging within the United States. Over the past several months, reports by the Associated Press have also revealed that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has been monitoring and infiltrating Muslim communities along the Northeast. Profiling simply does not work – it diverts limited law enforcement resources away from identifying actual criminal activity, undermines trust between police and affected individuals, and chills the civil rights of minority communities.   

 TAKE ACTION! Send a message to your Senators and Representative  asking them to co-sponsor the End Racial Profiling Act.  

It is long overdue that policymakers take action to prohibit racial and religious profiling in all its forms. In Congress, Congressman John Conyers of Michigan and Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland have introduced The End Racial Profiling Act (S.1670; H.R.3618). This legislation will address the harmful impact of profiling by prohibiting various forms of the practice, including in the travel and surveillance contexts; requiring training and data collection on profiling for entities receiving federal law enforcement funding; supporting law enforcement initiatives that do not result in profiling; establishing complaint mechanisms; creating privacy protections for individuals whose data is collected; and allowing affected individuals to file lawsuits to seek redress. SAALT has joined a diverse array of organizations and allies in supporting this landmark legislation in both the Houseand the Senate and urges community members to send a message to your lawmakers to co-sponsor this bill. Take a few minutes today to stand in support of civil rights and the South Asian community. 

Contact: Manmeet Singh
UNITED SIKHS
law-usa@unitedsikhs.org
P: 646-688-3525 | 888-243-1690

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SAFAR Our Journeys Connecting: Our stories, visions & paths https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2011/09/safar-our-journeys-connecting-our-stories-visions-paths/ Thu, 29 Sep 2011 20:43:54 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1127

SAFAR

SAFAR
Our Journeys
Connecting: Our stories, visions & paths

OISE,  University of Toronto
252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Canada

 

Join academics, community members and organizers  from across North America at “Our Journeys” as we bring to light the high caliber of research being carried out to explore and openly discuss collective past, present and future of geneder equality.
Conference is open to all & Registration is FREE or PWYC.  All attendees must register online at http://ourjourneys.eventbrite.com


8:00 Registration & Breakfast
9:15 Keynote Panel: Reconnecting the Disconnect – A Sikh Feminist Gosht
Prof. Nikky-Guninder Kaur, Geetanjali Chanda, Mallika Kaur

10:40 Break
11:00 Panel 1: Disrupting History
Deep Singh, Jaspal Kaur Singh, Brian Keith Axel, Tejpreet Kaur
12:30 Lunch

1:30  Panel 2 A | Gursikhi: Intersections, Parallels and Gaps
Simran Jeet Singh, Kirpal Kaur. Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa, Sonia Arora
Panel 2 B | Lived Experiences: Sikh Women, Work and Society
Ravneet Kaur Tiwana, Bandana Kaur, Kazi Abdur Rouf, Manprit (Preet) Kaur Virdi

3:00 Break

3:20 Panel 3A | Violence: Causes and Solutions
Jesleen Singh, Semran Kaur Mann, Malika Kaur Bhola, Gunisha Kaur

Panel 3B | Herstory: Bringing Untold Narratives of Womanhood to the Forefront
Harloveleen Kaur, Prabsimran Sachdev, Tavleen Kaur, Harminder S. Mann

4:50 Panel 4A | Gender and Sexuality:  A Lived Reality Unrecognized
Kaveri Qureshi, Gitanjali Kaur Singh, Ranjanpreet Nagra
Panel 4B | Diaspora and Culture: Resisting Social Pressures
Sharanpal K Ruprai, Gada Mahrouse & Indu Vashist, Satwinder Kaur Bains, Jaspreet Gill
6:30 Closing Remarks and Reception

RESEARCH +  SAFAR   =  HELPS Policy Makers , Community, Orgs
Research: The Sikh feminist perspective is inherent within Sikhi’s fundamental message of equality and egalitarianism, however research and scholarship exploring Sikh feminism exists in limitation, has restricted access and is widely unacknowledged

SAFAR: Safar’s mission is to conduct, collect and openly share research that analyzes and addresses the  issues of gender inequality.

HOW IT HELPS: In addition to encouraging education and academic advancement amongst the community, open access to this research will provide grassroot community organizations,  policy makers, and NGOs, with resources and support to strengthen their work for action towards addressing gender inequality.

For more information please contact:
Preet Kaur Virdi (preet.virdi@gmail.com), Tarnjit Johal (tarnjitjohan@gmail.com)
http://ourjourneys.eventbrite.com

 

 

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LA celebrates Vaisakhi 2010: Special emphasis on counting Sikhs correctly in Census https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2010/04/la-celebrates-baisakhi-2010-special-emphasis-on-counting-sikhs-correctly-in-census/ Wed, 07 Apr 2010 01:40:46 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=890 The City of Los Angeles and the Sikh community of Southern California came together to celebrate 311 years of formation of the Khalsa on April 4, 2010. For this years celebration, the main focus was on census 2010 and the campaign of getting a separate count for Sikhs in future Census products.

Jesse Singh, a resident of San Diego, who as been a front runner in this campaign for more than 6 months now spoke at the event and said, “Statistics tells a lot about a communities history over time, trends, enumeration – the actual amount of Sikhs living in the U.S – this alone transcends into other statistics like commerce data – jobs, employment discrimination, mentioning of Sikhs in American textbooks on a national platform, it brings awareness to the Sikh community by non-Sikhs.”

Jesse especially thanked UNITED SIKHS and their legal team for their efforts in the past for “taking the bull by the horns”. Jesse Singh with Bibi Ji, Yogi Bhajan Ji's wife, and Jagjit Singh

If you haven’t received your Census form yet, please go to http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ to find the closest assistance center and get your form.

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EEOC provides update on number of cases filed for employment discrimination since 9/11 https://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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Get your Census form from libraries if you didnt receive it yet!!! https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2010/03/get-your-census-form-from-libraries-if-you-didnt-receive-it-yet/ Wed, 31 Mar 2010 20:07:20 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=883 It has been brought to attention that Census forms will not be mailed to gurdwaras. Therefore, the religious workers and their families who reside at gurdwaras will not receive their form. Also, due to the ongoing situation with vacant housing, chances are that there will be problems in everyone getting their forms.

If you know someone who did not receive a Census form, make sure you inform them to pick one up from a nearby public library or assistance center. For more information, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/.

If you have any questions or need information, you can also mail us law-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

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Census Bureau responds to the Sikh Petition https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2010/03/census-bureau-responds-to-the-sikh-petition/ https://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2010/03/census-bureau-responds-to-the-sikh-petition/#comments Sat, 13 Mar 2010 04:13:00 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=815 Washington DC, March 13th, 2010: Finally, after a month of waiting, UNITED SIKHS received the first response  from the Census Bureau to the Petition submitted by them to the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau.

In the response, the Bureau said, “With Census Day less than one month away, it is too late to change our procedure for classifying “Sikh” responses to the 2010 Census question on race, without extreme cost and risk to Census Bureau operations. Beyond the 2010 Census, we will consider changes to the processing of the term “Sikh” when it is provided in response to the question on race.”

We need to keep up our efforts. Even if the Census does not provide an official count this year, we have to make a strong case for 2020. Census forms are official records and are maintained and stored as official archives. Let us fill in “Sikh” as a response to question 9 so that when we ask the Census next time to reconsider their decision, we can claim that our community wants to be identified as Sikhs.

This fight is very important for our future generations and for their rightful place in the American society.

Please also read http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=789 to get answers to all your questions and to read more about why it is important to be counted as Sikhs.

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