By: Riya Mahanta
The Sikh Coalition is a community based non-profit organization based in New York that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. It was founded in 2001 as a volunteer effort in response to 9/11 as a backlash of ugly hate and violence swept the country. Rucha Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s Director of Community Development, says that the inspiration comes from “desire to create a world where Sikhs, and other religious minorities in America, may freely practice their faith without bias and discrimination.” They are working to protect everyone’s constitutional right to practice their faith without fear.
The Sikh Coalition is engaging in many different campaigns – creating safe schools, ending employment discrimination, preventing hate and discrimination, empowering the community, raising the Sikh profile, and are working on legal cases and policy changes.
This organisation has been working continuously for the past 19 years to get justice and raise awareness for Sikhs.
While this organization doesn’t usually focus on public health, the Sikh Coalition wanted to do something special to help people during these unprecedented times of Covid-19. Over the past few months, they have created and shared resources in English and Punjabi about this pandemic. These resources help people learn more about the pandemic, ways to stay safe, relief benefits, and much more. Sikh Coalition is also helping individual Sangat’s get media coverage to help show people in need where to get meals and supplies that Sikhs are donating.
Some of the future projects that Sikh Coalition is working on are their “Get Out the Vote”(GOTV) effort and their Summer Series. The GOTV effort is trying to get as many Sikh Americans as possible to register and vote. Sikh Coalition has developed a free tool for people to check their voter registration and information about the election in their state. Even before the election, they launched their first-ever summer series – a collection of online programming. There were panels, training, and screenings for adults, and stories, music, and art for kids. This Summer series was held from July 19th to July 25th.
On Saturday, June 6th, the Sikh Coalition held a webinar inviting Khalsa School directors and organizers from all over the US. There were two speakers, Harbaldeep Singh, founder and mentor of Nishkam TV, and Pushpinder Kaur of San Jose Khalsa school. Harbaldeep discussed ways to supplement Khalsa schools with visual and media art. Pushpinder Kaur shared strategies and methods their Khalsa school successfully maintained over 700 students with the other attendees. One of the primary outcomes of this webinar was the “Nishkam TV BFC 2020 Film Making Workshop”, the first of many virtual workshops for young Sikh filmmakers.