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Research on Local Asian American Organization
Description of the Organization
While Asia is the world’s largest land mass and most populous region, America is the only country with unrivalled cultural and ethnic diversity. Many Asian groups consider the U.S. their home from naturalized citizenship and from persons born, raised, and educated in this country. However, there are many challenges faced by people from minority groupings all the 51 states which have encouraged them to morph into organizations from which they can voice common concerns on a shared platform. The Sikh Coalition is one such organization catering for problems individuals from this Asian community may face relative to civil liberties.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 9, 2001, different minority groups were suddenly propelled into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. A spate of aggressive acts, attitudes and behaviors were projected on Sikh Americans (The Sikh Coalition 102). In an effort to defend the rights and liberties of this particular demography, volunteers sharing the Sikh faith joined hands in forming The Sikh Coalition. At present, it has grown into becoming the biggest Sikh American support organization with the U.S. with ten fulltime employees working in three offices in response to any issues concerning the promotion of human and civil rights of all persons within the nation’s boundaries (The Sikh Coalition). Its quest is to work towards the building of a country that allows the Sikh people to fearlessly and freely practice Sikhism.
The Sikh Coalition is a nationwide community based entity with staff manning offices in Chicago, Washington D.C., the Los Angeles and Bay Area regions of California, and in New York City. It has more than 100 volunteer members forming a community of personnel dedicated to the protection of Sikh civil rights and freedom all over the U.S (The Sikh Coalition 102). As a nonpartisan and nonprofit outfit, The Sikh Coalition’s programs, administrative overheads, and fundraising events are funded through grants received from private foundations as well as various donors at an individual capacity. It does not solicit funds from government institutions or agencies. According to the Charity Navigator’s website, the organization collected revenues in the form of contributions worth 1.75 million dollars while accumulating 1.7 million dollars in expenses translating to an excess of 50,000 dollars in the year 2016 Charity Navigator. Its net assets for the same year stood at 1.66 million dollars. Its leader was compensated for his services to a tune of 118,000 dollars Charity Navigator. This implies that it is a well-functioning organization able to meet its obligations in accordance with its mission and vision statements.
Like every other volunteer based organizations, The Sikh Organization is guided by a succinct mission, vision and set of values that define and guide it towards executing its mandate. In an interview with Kamar B, Kamar (2018), it became evident that its vision is to work towards the attainment of a world that ensures the Sikh and all other religious minorities all across the U.S. freely practice desired faith devoid of discrimination or bias. It labors through communities, classrooms, in courtrooms as well as within the halls of the U.S. Congress towards achieving its objective. Its mission statement provides, “We strive to do this with integrity (sach) and selflessness (seva) – while knowing that our work can require unrelenting perseverance (sangarsh) on campaigns that can last years. We will always strive to do the right thing, even when it is not easy, clear or quick to reach that conclusion” (The Sikh Coalition). It chief aim is to promote human rights as well as civil liberties of all persons regardless of race and ethnic differences.
Strategies and Programs
It does not labor to serve the Sikh community in the U.S. alone but also vouches for all other minority groupings exposed to incidences of religious discrimination or biases. For instance, its Media and Communications division supports its Legal, Policy, and Community Development initiatives (The Sikh Coalition). It works as a form of insurance policy for the Sikh community and others who believe that their rights are infringed upon. Working with pro-bono advocates as partners, it is able to bring pressing issues before courts of law to eliminate incidences of bigotry and discrimination (The Sikh Coalition). It has over the years strengthened interfaith collaborations and partnerships with advocacy organizations sharing similar ideals. It collaboratively endeavors with educational institutions to promote civil rights by enabling students to comprehend the contributions its community members have from the past to present contributed to the country’s development.
The Sikh Coalition has achieved significant milestones in its life. The most notable is its inputs towards the successful passage of the California Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 (The Sikh Coalition 102). This particular state legislation goes over and above what is accorded through federal law. It 2012, it launched a mobile phone application software for free use by travelers (The Sikh Coalition 102). Known as the FlyRights app, it empowers persons to register official complaints citing discrimination from the Transportation Security Administration.
Opposition and Challenges
Like other advocacy groups, it suffers greatly when its members as well as persons from various minority groupings are targeted in hate crimes. According The Sikh Coalition (105), its members from the Sikh community are subjected to random screening in airports indicative of religious and racial profiling against its adherents. In 2012, it bravely dealt with the shocking incident in a Sikh House of Worship which resulted in the demise of 6 worshipers and several others critically wounded (The Sikh Coalition 103-104). In the hope that the country’s legislators will through law expand tracking for hate crime perpetrators, it appealed to the U.S. Senate to decisively act against hate groups which derail its vision. It desires that law enforcement agencies attain higher quality training towards development and execution of prevention measures that succinctly address the issue of hate crime.
Areas for Improvement
The Sikh Coalition has overcome opposition and challenges towards establishing a financially sound advocacy group with notable improvements. However, I believe that there is room for improvement. It only has five offices aimed at serving not only members of the Sikh community but also other minority groups throughout the country. With this regard, it is imperative that it makes greater efforts to open up offices in the southern, central, and northern states to ensure that is able to offer assistance to its members at a physical level.
Charity Navigator . The Sikh Coalition. 2018. Accessed 22 May. 2018. https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=11861
The Sikh Coalition. The Sikh Coalition. Amerasia Journal 40:1 (2014): 102-105. Accessed 22 May. 2018. http://uclajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.17953/amer.40.1.d143211653688270?code=ucla-site
The Sikh Coalition. Working towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. 2018. Accessed 22 May. 2018. https://www.sikhcoalition.org/