Registration is now open for an upcoming AAPIP funder briefing with the Sikh Coalition: Protecting Sikh Communities from Hate and Transnational Repression.
The Sikh Coalition is the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States. Founded in the aftermath of 9/11, its initial goal was to provide free legal support for Sikh Americans targeted in a wave of bias, bigotry, and backlash. Over the past 20 years, the Sikh Coalition has grown around a whole-of-society approach to countering hate, including continued pro bono legal work on hate crimes, workplace discrimination, and severe bullying; policy advocacy at the state and federal levels; efforts to make schools safer and more inclusive; community empowerment; and leveraging of the media for increased Sikh awareness.
Per the FBI, “transnational repression” refers to when foreign governments stalk, intimidate, or assault people in the United States. The term became extremely relevant to the Sikh American community beginning in September 2023, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his country’s intelligence services were investigating a “credible link” between the Indian government and the June 2023 alleged assassination of a Canadian Sikh activist in Canada. Then, in November 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment charging an Indian national with conspiring with a representative of the government of India to pay a hitman to assassinate another Sikh activist, this one an American living in New York.
Given additional warnings and threats outlined in public reporting and confirmed by agencies like the FBI, it is increasingly clear that transnational repression is a direct threat to the civil rights and safety of Sikhs throughout North America. What is the historical context behind this surge in transnational repression? What work is being undertaken by the Sikh Coalition to counter this threat? And what role can funders with interests and experience in public safety, community-based advocacy, and more play in furthering this local, national, and international conversation?
Speakers: Harman Singh and Graham F. West serve as the Interim Co-Executive Directors of the Sikh Coalition.