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September 11th Endeavor Report
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Justice For All The e-Newsletter of The Sikh Coalition
September 24, 2002 Volume 15
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh,
COALITION PARTICIPATES IN UNITED NATIONS INTERFAITH SERVICE
Harpreet Singh, Director of Community Relations for The Sikh Coalition, sang and explained the meaning of a shabad (Sikh prayer) at a ceremony marking the opening of the 57th session of the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly on September 11, 2002. Other speakers included President of the General Assembly, Mr. Jan Kavan and Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. Harpreet Singh was subsequently interviewed by phone during a live program by BBC in London concerning the event.
COALITION PARTICIPATES IN LIVE BBC INTERVIEW
Narinder Singh, Director of The Sikh Coalition, was interviewed during a live program on 9/11 by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) in London. Narinder Singh spoke about the post-9/11 experiences of Sikhs in America, how we have been affected by and dealt with the challenges presented by 9/11, and how we have evolved as a community over the past year. Harpreet Singh, Director of Community Relations for The Coalition, was interviewed later by BBC during the same program regarding his involvement with the UN interfaith ceremony.
COALITION SPONSORS PUBLIC HEARING IN SEATTLE
Justice for ALL: The Aftermath of September 11th
Sikh Coalition Co-Hosts Public Hearings in Seattle, with over 1,000 people in attendance.
A year after the terrorist attacks of September 11, all across the country acts of intolerance and new federal policies have eroded our civil rights, our sense of community and appreciation of diversity. At stake is the fundamental sense of what it means to be an American and who belongs in America. Towards this end a public hearing was held in the Town Hall in Seattle on September 21, 2002. The unique aspect of the event was members of the Sikh American, Muslim American, East African, Arab American, Japanese American, South Asian and Latino communities coming together in solidarity to testify about their experiences with harassment, hate crimes, incidents of bias and discriminatory federal policies.
The event was sponsored by the Hate Free Zone of Washington and co-hosted by The Sikh Coalition along with and about 20 other community organizations including the Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington. The Gurudwara hosted the pakora snacks for the event, all of which were served by Sikh men and women. The event was also supported by about 80 other national and local organizations.
The moderator for the event was Chief Justice Charles Smith of Washington and eight commissioners representing federal, state, and local elected and public officials attended.
COMMUNITY & GURUDWARAS ACROSS U.S. REMEMBER BALBIR SINGH
As part of the "Embracing Diversity" campaign sponsored by several Sikh groups, Gurudwaras across the U.S. responded to The Coalition’s request to remember Balbir Singh (Sodhi) during divaan on Sunday, September 15th. (Balbir Singh’s death was the first hate-motivated fatality in the U.S. after September 11th.) For example, members of the sangat in the LA Gurudwaras sang shabads to remember S. Balbir Singh, and speeches provided by The Coalition were read out in front of the sangat in English and Punjabi by a Sikh boy and a girl. The Marysville Gurudwara of Washington had a similar event, while the Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington had a beautiful service that included reading of The Coalition speech, members of the sangat voicing the need for religious tolerance, and kids making beautiful drawings and poems to commemorate the day. The Sikh Society of Minnesota gurudwara held a children’s diwaan to remember Balbir Singh. Such remembrances were held at gurudwaras across the country.
The remembrance was a part of our community’s attempt to combat hate with education, compassion and tolerance. The Coalition would like to thank all those that participated.
COALITION PARTICIPATES IN 9/11 INTERFAITH EVENT IN ILLINOIS
Haramandeep Singh, Director of Education for The Coalition, spoke at a September 11th remembrance in Naperville, IL. The interfaith event remembered the victims of 9/11 and how we can work towards healing and bringing together different communities across the world. Haramandeep Singh delivered a shabad (Sikh payer) on the Sikh perspective of healing and asking for God's help. The Sikh Religious Society of Chicago also sponsored the event.
Started as an effort to educate the greater North American community on Sikhs and Sikhism, the Sikh Coalition seeks to safeguard the civil and human rights of all citizens as well as to promote the Sikh identity and communicate the collective interests of Sikhs to civil society. The Coalition serves as a resource on Sikhs and Sikh concerns for governments, organizations and individuals.
For more information on the Coalition or to learn of ways you can help please visit www.sikhcoalition.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: The Sikh Coalition, P.O. Box 7132, New York, NY 10150-7132.
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