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Sikhs meet face to face with US Congressmen and Federal Agencies to voice their concerns

October 30, 2013 | By

Washington D.C., USA (October 30, 2013): It is learnt that the United Sikhs, a US based Sikh NGO, arranged an event where the Sikh community of US got a chance to meet US Congressmen from different regions and federal agency officials face to face. Sikh activists and community members shared their concerns and expressed the need for change in the policies.

Held October 22nd- October 24th 2013, the Sikh Summit gave community members from around the United States the opportunity to hold meaningful dialogue and promote solutions about important civil and human rights issues such as:

• Hate and Bias Crimes
• Bullying in Schools
• Increasing Security and Vigilance at Sikh Temples in the U.S. after the shooting massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin
• Right to Turbans at Airports and in the Military
• Employment Discrimination at the Workplace and in Armed Forces
• Racial and Religious Profiling
• Increasing and correcting school textbook information about Sikhs
• Including Sikhs in the U.S. Census
• Stopping the ban on turbans in France

In April 2013, the American Sikh Congressional Caucus was launched and now consists of over 30 congressmen from both sides of the aisle. To assure this new resource was properly utilized, United Sikhs and Sikh community attendees met with caucus members and other congressmen to discuss ways in which the caucus can band together to push for the issues faced by the community. Several proposals and ideas were discussed during these meetings and further action in this regard will be taken in the months to come. United Sikhs is grateful to the following congressional members, agencies, and organizations for individually meeting with us for these important conversations:

Congressman Joseph Crowley Congressman Raul M. Grijalva
Congressman Patrick Meehan Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Congressman Van Hollen Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
Congresswoman Judy Chu Congressman Gary Peters
Congressman Frank Pallone Congresswoman Doris Matsui
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren Congressman Frank Wolf
Congressman Jeff Dunham Congressman Jerry McNerney
Congressman Tom McClintock Congressman David Valadao
Congressman George Miller Congressman Rush Holt
Congressman Doug LaMalfa Congressman John Conyers
Department of Justice Department of State
The Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights Department of Justice, Community Relations Service
Department of Homeland Security USCIRF and NAACP

 “I was honored to participate in the United Sikhs Annual Sikh Summit this year. I represent a district that is home to one of the largest Sikh populations in the United States,” said Congressman David Valadao, co-chair of the American Sikh Caucus (centered in the picture with members of United Sikhs). “American-Sikhs have a very strong presence in our community and their impact on American society is significant. I am proud to provide the Sikh community with a voice in Washington and will continue to work with my colleagues to address the unique issues this community faces.”

Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union, added, “At the United Sikhs’ Summit I was honored to accept the award to the ACLU for our extensive work on behalf of Sikhs — and to express my thanks to United Sikhs for standing with us and supporting our work toward the goal of religious freedom and equality for all.”

In addition to these meetings, a banquet dinner was held in honor of the Sikh Summit on the evening of Wednesday, October 23, 2013, at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Washington D.C. with food provided by Punjabi Junction. The theme of the evening was “Celebrating a Journey from Inspiration to Success.” Speakers of the night included:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (co-chair for American Sikh Congressional Caucus) Congressman David Valadao (co-chair for American Sikh Congressional Caucus) Congressman Mike Honda (member of American Sikh Congressional Caucus) Congressman Jerry McNerney (member of American Sikh Congressional Caucus) Mr. Jeffrey Woodrum (Staffer for Rep. Joseph Crowley) Mr. Hilary Sheldon (Director of NAACP) Mr. Paul Monteiro (Associate Director for White House Office of Public Engagement) Ms. Susan Herman (President of the American Civil Liberties Union) Mr. Daniel Mach (Director of ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief) along with numerous members of the Sikh Community including Gurudwara management, and dedicated Sikh activists nationwide.

United Sikhs has thanked to all the speakers and honorees for coming to their banquet and joining United Sikhs in its efforts.

The three-day Summit concluded with United Sikhs Policy Advocate, Anisha Singh, along with four other community activists invited to the White House to be a part of President Barack Obama’s announcement and support of immigration reform legislation which was headed to the House of Representatives for a vote.

“Despite the government shutdown, this year’s annual Sikh Summit brought more meetings than ever before with congressional members,” said United Sikhs Policy Advocate, Anisha Singh. “Over 100 Sikh community members from around the world attended our banquet dinner. It as an honor to have both chairs of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. David Valadao, speak to our community. Their words of support and encouragement reassured our community that having these dialogues is imperative as we work together to push for change for the betterment of the Sikh community. A very humbling close to the summit was a visit to the White House to hear President Barack Obama speak on his support for the current immigration reform legislation.”

Read brief summery of above news in Punjabi/Gurmukhi:

ਅਮਰੀਕਾ ਦੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਭਾਈਚਾਰੇ ਨੇ ਅਮਰੀਕੀ ਵਿਧਾਨਕਾਰਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਸਿੱਧੀ ਗੱਲਬਾਤ ਕਰਕੇ ਆਪਣੀਆਂ ਔਕੜਾ ਦੱਸੀਆਂ

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