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An American Story 2014 Annual Report


Table of Contents Mission & Vision................................................................3 Message from the Chairman and Executive Director.......4 Sharing our Story of Perpetual Optimism.......................................................6 Deconstructing Bias: Turban Myths..................................8 Creating a Sikh American Platform in the Media............10 First-ever Sikh American Television Commercial............12 Sharing our Story of Serving, Sharing and Leading......................................14 Serving the Community..................................................16 Protecting the Sikh Voice at the Ballot Box....................18 Langar on Capitol Hill.....................................................20 Sharing the Story of Our Future....................................................................22 SikhLEAD: Internship Program........................................24 SikhLEAD: Leadership Development Program...............26 SikhLEAD: Alumni Achievements...................................28 Sharing our Story of Achievement.................................................................30 United We Stand: 2013 National Gala............................32 Financials.........................................................................34 Sponsors, Partners, Board & Staff...................................36 Appearances & Resources..............................................38 SALDEF

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WE ARE GROUNDED IN OUR VALUES OF OPTIMISM (CHARDI KALA), HUMILITY (NIMRATA) AND SERVICE (SEVA), INSPIRED BY THE COMMUNITY (SANGAT ) FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL (SARBAT DA BHALLA).

Mission, Vision, and Values Founded in 1996, SALDEF is a national Sikh American media, policy, and education organization. Our mission is to empower Sikh Americans by building dialogue, deepening understanding, promoting civic and political participation, and upholding social justice and religious freedom for all Americans. We are grounded in our values of optimism (chardi kala), humility (nimrata) and service (seva), inspired by the community (sangat) for the benefit of all (sarbat da bhalla). We envision a United States where Sikh Americans are respected and recognized as a vibrant and integral part of the fabric of this nation and are appreciated for our shared values of service, social justice, and an unshakeable belief in freedom and equality for all. AN AMERICAN STORY

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Message from the Chairman & Executive Director Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh! This past year, with your support, our community and SALDEF found new ways to advance the rights of Sikh Americans in order to create a stronger nation for all.

THIS IS THE STORY WE WANT TO TELL. IT IS THE STORIES OF PEOPLE LIVING THEIR VALUES WHO INSPIRE US. IT IS YOUR SIKH AMERICAN STORY WE SHARE. SALDEF

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We debuted the first ever Sikh American television commercial in partnership with Comcast, a PSA featuring actor Waris Singh Ahluwalia and some of the 400 personal photos submitted by the community. The commercial aired in thirtynine states around the country over 200,000 times. The interns in the SikhLEAD program brought to fruition the first-ever Langar on the Hill, sharing our values with Members of Congress and their staffs in a way never done before.


We are creating these new forms of media in order to answer the dilemma posed in “Turban Myths”, SALDEF’s groundbreaking research with Stanford researchers that found our Sikh American story remains untold. Sikh Americans’ stories are part of America’s story. The story of Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian Pacific American to serve in Congress in 1957. The story of Amrita Kaur Bamrah who with her Sikh Students Association at the University of Illinois held a langar on her campus for over 2,000 people. The story of early pioneers like Bakshish Singh and Rattan Kaur, who made the United States their home in 1910. The story of Bhagat Singh Thind, whose fight for citizenship went to the Supreme Court in 1913. The story of Tejinder Singh, who became the first Sikh lawyer to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court in 2014. Your parents’ American story. Your children’s American story. Your American story.

Our stories are powerful tools that allow us to create change. This year alone, our stories have influenced members of Congress, SikhLEADers, countless media outlets, and local communities. Thank you for entrusting us with your stories as they have the power to create a better world. Thank you and Guru Fateh, Manjit Singh Chairman

Jasjit Singh Executive Director

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Sharing our Story of Perpetual Optimism

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On a warm sunny day in June, I stepped out as Captain America to mess with people’s perceptions of turbans and beards. Along the way I have learned a few life altering lessons: Circumstances and people can bring out the best in all of us. — VISHAVJIT SINGH, MEDIUM

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THE PRESENTATION OF THE TURBAN AND BEARD BY THE MEDIA reinforces biases which create an environment in which wearers are considered acceptable TARGETS OF DISCRIMINATION AND APPREHENSION.

70%

CANNOT IDENTIFY A SIKH MAN IN A PICTURE AS A SIKH. SALDEF

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ANTI-TURBAN BIAS EXISTS EVEN AMONG PEOPLE WITH A GREATER KNOWLEDGE OF SIKHS AND THEIR ARTICLES OF FAITH.

20%

OF RESPONDENTS SAY THAT IF THEY ENCOUNTER A STRANGER WEARING A TURBAN THEY ARE LIKELY TO BECOME ANGRY OR APPREHENSIVE.


Deconstructing Bias: Turban Myths In partnership with researchers from Stanford University, SALDEF released Turban Myths, the first-ever public perception assessment of Sikh Americans in the United States. We learned that Americans do not know our story and the presentation of our articles of faith in the media reinforces suspicion. The study reveals a specific bias against our turban and beard, despite our presence and contributions to America for over 125 years. It corroborates, through literary review and data analysis, the impact of bias on the daily experiences of our community, and offers solutions on how to shift the paradigm of unconscious prejudice against the Sikh articles of faith. From this insight, SALDEF has embarked on a long-term campaign to fundamentally break the unconscious biases held by the public, shift the way our articles of faith are portrayed in the media, and tell our dynamic story. The research in Turban Myths has been presented to the White House, the Attorney General, Members of Congress, universities, and conferences around the country.

SALDEF CONDUCTED THE FIRST-EVER PUBLIC PERCEPTION ASSESSMENT OF SIKH AMERICANS IN THE UNITED STATES

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“SALDEF is in a unique position to give voice to all of the people across the country who are Sikh, and I think that is a great responsibility [that] could elevate the entire community.” — DEANNA SINGH, WISCONSIN; MEMBER OF INAUGURAL SALDEF SPEAKERS BUREAU MEDIA TRAINING

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Creating A Sikh American Platform in the Media SALDEF—with the support of Ik Manzil— launched media trainings across the nation to teach Sikh Americans how to gain access and share their narrative with the media. Our inaugural National Speaker’s Bureau class was established at NBC Studios in Washington, DC, followed by trainings in Los Angeles and San Francisco. These Sikh Americans received extensive training from media veterans, including on air training and how to effectively pitch stories. Year-round, SALDEF’s in-house team generates press opportunities for Sikh Americans on a variety of policy and community-building topics.

AT NBC STUDIOS IN WASHINGTON, WE LAUNCHED THE FIRST CLASS OF OUR INAUGURAL NATIONAL SPEAKERS BUREAU

SALDEF developed a Rapid Response Plan to support communities through scenarios requiring an immediate media response. One example of SALDEF’s plan in action was our support of Dr. Prabhjot Singh in 2013 after he was attacked in New York City. SALDEF led a media relations strategy—including a press conference, television and print interviews, and a statement—that allowed Singh to share his values and love of neighborhood with the press, while ensuring his family’s safety.

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First-ever Sikh American Television Commercial This summer, Americans saw the first-ever Sikh American commercial on TV—which ran in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The thirty-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) aired over 200,000 times due to a $2,500,000 donation of airtime by Comcast, the world’s largest media company.

SALDEF RECEIVED MESSAGES FROM AMERICANS AROUND THE COUNTRY WHO SAW THE PSA AND WERE INSPIRED BY OUR COMMITMENT TO EQUALITY AND OPPORTUNITY.

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The commercial featured actor and designer, Waris Singh Ahluwalia, and Sikh Americans from across the country, selected from over 400 submissions. The script, produced by SALDEF in partnership with Comcast and the Center for Asian American Media showcased—through voiceover and images—Sikh American values, including a love of service, family, and community. Major media outlets reported on SALDEF’s commercial for the community, writing about Sikhs’ 125-year history in the United States and our commitment to creating safe and fostering communities.


103,144,185

NUMBER OF IMPRESSIONS THROUGH MEDIA COVERAGE THAT SALDEF SECURED

WHEN MAJOR MEDIA OUTLETS REPORTED ON SALDEF’S COMMERDIAL FOR THE COMMUNITY

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STATES AND DC AIRED THE FIRST-EVER SIKH AMERICAN TV COMMERCIAL IN THE SUMMER OF 2014

THE THIRTY-SECOND COMMERCIAL AIRED OVER 200,000 TIMES DUE TO A $2,500,000 DONATION OF AIRTIME BY COMCAST.

“The PSA filled me with happiness and maybe even some hope. And when the fellow says he is proud to be an American—I too, felt that pride. I am lucky to have seen it and feel so good from seeing it.” — A NON-SIKH VIEWER FROM MINNEAPOLIS, MN

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Sharing our Story of Serving, Sharing and Leading

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There is much work to be done, but I am appreciative of SALDEF because they are committed to ensuring that we uphold diversity in this country and also that we uphold everybody’s civil rights. — REPRESENTATIVE JUDY CHU, PH.D. (CA)

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Recognizing SALDEF’s Leadership The Transpor tation Security Administration (TSA) presented SALDEF with the first-ever TSA Community Partnership Award. SALDEF received this honor as a result of the strong partnership we developed and maintained with TSA since the agency’s founding over a decade ago.

Protecting the Sikh I.D.

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“SALDEF has been an excellent partner and we look forward to continuing our productive collaboration and open dialogue with them.”

After a Sikh American — DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR was told his turban would not be allowed on JOHN W. HALINSKI, TSA his driver’s license photo, SALDEF succeeded in challenging the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services’ (DVS) policy. Sikh Americans across Minnesota can be assured they can keep their articles of faith on in their driver’s license photos. AN AMERICAN STORY


Securing the Right to Serve The Riverside Police Department became the first police force in California, and only the second in the nation, to proactively amend their uniform guidance so Sikh Americans can serve with their articles of faith, including turbans and beards, while on duty. The change came following months of collaboration between SALDEF and the local community.

“I’m very grateful to SALDEF for working with us to achieve an important milestone in our department’s history. Sikhism has a long tradition of service and protection, and so, it is a natural source of talent for the police service.” — CHIEF SERGIO DIAZ, RIVERSIDE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Carrying our Sikh American Story to Capitol Hill SALDEF serves as a voice for Sikh Americans on issues that affect the lives of all Americans. SALDEF’s policy work includes representing our community on Capitol Hill, working with federal agencies, and building relationships with coalition partners. SALDEF represents Sikh Americans on issues like voting rights, women’s rights, religious freedom, bullying, and civil rights. Policies we support include the End Racial Profiling Act, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, and speaking out against the suspect surveillance of minority communities. SHARING OUR STORY OF SERVING, SHARING AND LEADING

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Protecting the Sikh Voice at the Ballot Box In 1923, Bhagat Singh Thind took his fight for citizenship to the United States Supreme Court. In 1964, Americans came together during the Freedom Summer to expand the right to vote. In 2014, SALDEF and our SikhLEADers came together with interfaith groups to honor this legacy of activism and share our Sikh American voting rights story. One year after the Supreme Court struck down key provisions that protect minority voting rights in Shelby County v. Holder, SALDEF joined civil rights and faith groups in support of the bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA). Leading the effort to raise the Sikh American voice, SALDEF sent a letter to every Senator and Congressman, all 535 offices, signed by a coalition of Sikh organizations, sharing our commitment to equality and an equal voice for all Americans.

“AS SIKHS AND AS AMERICANS, WE WILL CONTINUE TO STAND UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF THOSE WHOSE VOICE IS BEING DIMINISHED.” — JASJIT SINGH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IN TESTIMONY FOR THE US SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

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“For the Sikh-American community... the fight for the rights of citizenship, including the right to vote, is a critical part of our history in the United States.” — JASJIT SINGH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALDEF, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

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“Langar is a time when all people can sit together and eat as equals – regardless of their differences. Its tradition upholds the ideals of sharing, community, and inclusiveness. ” — REPRESENTATIVE JUDY CHU, PH.D. (CA), KCET SALDEF

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Langar on Capitol Hill Creating Sikh American history, the SikhLEAD Internship Class of 2014 organized and held the first-ever Langar on Capitol Hill, introducing Congressional leaders like Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), colleagues, and neighbors to a Sikh American way of life. Reflecting the values of langar, a 500 year-old anti-segregation movement, all faiths and races sat together sharing a simple, vegetarian meal in the Rayburn Building of the U.S. House of Representatives. National leaders, including Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA)—whose office helped coordinate the event—Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA), Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), and Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA), addressed the gathering, reflecting on Sikh American contributions, alongside their ongoing commitment to serve Sikh American communities. Congresswoman Chu announced the introduction of a resolution on behalf of herself, Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and about thirty Members of Congress, honoring the memory of the 2012 attack on the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

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Sharing the Story of Our Future

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SikhLEAD was a fantastic opportunity to critically engage with emerging Sikh leaders, inspiring thought towards action and progress. —ANGAD SINGH BINDRA, SIKHLEAD LDP CLASS OF 2014

Official airline of SikhLEAD

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SikhLEAD Class of 2014: Internship Program The SikhLEAD Internship Program partners with congressional offices, federal agencies, and Washington based organizations to provide college, graduate, and law students with enriching internship experiences. Intern are given firsthand perspective into the functions of government and the opportunity to build a meaningful career network. Interns participate in a series of leadership development workshops and networking events with leaders in Washington. Amrita Kaur Bamrah

University of Illinois – Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Amrita Kaur Jolly

California Western School of Law – The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Anmol Kaur

Pennsylvania State University – Bedi & Martinez, Attorneys at Law

Gurchit Singh Chatha

University of California, Berkeley – Representative Mike Honda (CA)

Gurwinder Singh

Stony Brook University – SALDEF

Harleen Kaur

University of Michigan – Representative Joseph Crowley (NY)

Harmann Singh SALDEF

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Columbia University – The White House

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“I was excited to spend time talking with this summer’s SALDEF interns about civic community engagement and their experiences working in Washington.” — REPRESENTATIVE AMI BERA, M.D. (CA) Harnek Singh Neelam

University of Michigan – Representative John Conyers, Jr. (MI)

Jyot Singh

Tufts University – American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

Naureen Singh

University of Colorado – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Prinka Kaur Bedi

University of Washington – The White House

Ramandeep Kaur Sangha

University of California, Berkeley – Representative Ami Bera, M.D. (CA)

Rasna Kaur Neelam

University of Michigan – Smithsonian Institution

Ravneet Singh

California State University, Sacramento – Representative Judy Chu, Ph.D (CA) SHARING THE STORY OF OUR FUTURE

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SikhLEAD Class of 2014: Leadership Development Program This year SALDEF successfully graduated its third Leadership Development Program (LDP) class. The program selects eighteen talented and promising young Sikh Americans from around the country for six days of training. Participants create a personal mission statement, develop new skills in public speaking, increase awareness of personal culture and identity, develop a clear understanding of their unique leadership profile and build skills to increase community empowerment. LDP inspires and trains Sikh American youth to become effective agents of change committed to exploring and realizing both their personal potential and that of the Sikh American community.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM INSPIRES AND TRAINS SIKH AMERICAN YOUTH TO BECOME EFFECTIVE AGENTS OF CHANGE


“I always heard that your network was important. I’ve made connections to peers and established leaders that I didn’t even know I needed.” — GURPREET KAUR SEEHRA, LDP CLASS OF 2014 SHARING THE STORY OF OUR FUTURE

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SikhLEAD Alumni Achievements Amrita Kaur Bamrah (Illinois), LDP and Internship Classes of 2012–2014 Helped the Sikh Students Association at the University of Illinois hold a langar that taught 2,000 students about Sikhism.

Guneet Kaur Chawla (North Carolina), LDP and Internship Class of 2013 Has been working with students in her community on bullying prevention.

Gurpreet Singh Sarin (Maryland), LDP Class of 2012 Performed on American Idol and was featured in the first-ever Sikh American commercial.

Harmann Singh & Mandeep Singh (New York), LDP and Internship Class of 2014 & 2013 Hosted a turban tying day at Columbia University with CU SEWA.

Harpreet Singh Bath (California), LDP Class of 2013 Elected President of his student body at California State University – Fullerton.

Jasleen Singh (California), LDP Class of 2012 Traveled to collect the community stories from around the country and used them to write a play called the Sikh Monologues, giving voice to our experiences.

Jaywin Singh Malhi (Texas), LDP and Internship Class of 2012 Elected Vice President of his student body at Southern Methodist University.

Ruppa Kaur (Minnesota), LDP Class of 2013 SALDEF

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Worked with SALDEF to hold a turban tying day at the Minnesota State Capitol. AN AMERICAN STORY


“My experience with SALDEF and within the SikhLEAD program gave me the confidence that I needed to believe that a Langar on Campus could happen. The SikhLEAD program provided not only tools of knowledge that helped me throughout the process of organizing the event, but also with a network of mentors across the country that supported me throughout the process” — AMRITA KAUR BAMRAH


Sharing our Story of Achievement

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The things that SALDEF has done to make the country aware of what is happening in the community, and what has happened, and continues to happen, is something that needs to be honored and respected. 窶認LOYD MORI, PRESIDENT & CEO, APAICS

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United We Stand: 2013 National Gala Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Youth Leadership Award In recognition of his innovation and leadership to improve access to healthcare for underserved communities—from his own neighborhood in Harlem to working with the UN in Africa—and for serving as an inspiring role model for our Sikh American youth, the Youth Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Prabhjot Singh. Harmeet K. Dhillon, Public Service Award Harmeet K. Dhillon received the Public Service Award in recognition of her unwaivering dedication to serving her community. One of the leading Sikh American lawyers in the country—who has worked at top law firms before starting her own practice Dhillon Law Group — she uses her skills to relentlessly stop discrimination and injustice, and represents her community as a top officer of the California Republican Party, giving them a strong political voice. Deepa Iyer, Dorothy Height Coalition Building Award For more than a decade Deepa Iyer, the former Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), has served as a leader in the South Asian Community. An expert on post-9/11 experiences, she received the Dorothy Height Coalition Building Award in recognition of her leadership, serving as a tireless advocate for equal rights and understanding. SALDEF

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The Sikh Human Development Foundation, Bhagat Singh Thind Community Empowerment Award In recognition of their global seva and financial support for underprivileged students— transforming lives so disadvantaged young people can gain access to higher education and careers unavailable to those without money and power—the Sikh Human Development Foundation (SHDF) was presented with the Bhagat Singh Thind Community Empowerment Award. The American Sikh Congressional Caucus, Dalip Singh Saund Legislative Leadership Award The American Sikh Congressional Caucus, through its co-chairs, Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA), was presented with the Dalip Singh Saund Legislative Leadership Award in recognition of their role to help educate their fellow Members of Congress about the Sikh American community and promote religious freedom for all Americans. Fauja Singh, Sikh Image Award Sardar Fauja Singh, the centenarian marathoner, was presented with the Sikh Image Award in recognition of his inspirational ethics, humility, and for serving as a role model for Sikhs and non-Sikhs around the world. He is a living testament to Chardi Kala and the belief that “Nothing is Impossible”. SHARING OUR STORY OF ACHIEVEMENT

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Financials: 2013 Expenses MANAGEMENT & GENERAL DEVELOPMENT

6%

10%

PROGRAM SERVICES

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To obtain SALDEF's complete audited financial statement AN AMERICAN STORY


Financials: 2013 Income

6% 13% 81%

EVENT SPONSORSHIP / TRAINING GRANTS & FOUNDATIONS

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS

with auditor's opinion please contact SALDEF. SHARING OUR STORY OF ACHIEVEMENT

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Sponsors • APIA VOTE • Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles • Association of Sikh Professionals • Chardi Kalaa Foundation • Comcast • Ik Manzil • LA County Human Relations Commission • Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights • National Council of Asian Pacific Americans • South Asian Bar Association, Southern California Public

Interest Foundation

• Southwest Airlines • University of Southern California, Office of Religious Life

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Additionally, we thank our countless supporters and volunteers from across the country who have helped us further our mission. Your contributions and support enhance the lives of thousands of Sikh American across the country. We look forward to your continued support in 2015 and beyond. SALDEF is indebted to the following photo contributors: Les Talusan Photography; Hanee Designs; Harleen Kaur; Harnek S. Neelam; Rasna K. Neelam; Eastward Films; Bend the Arc; Common Ground Consulting; report concept & design: Eighty2degrees.


Staff

Media Advisory Board

Jasjit Singh, Executive Director Sona Simran Kaur, Communications Director Sumeet Kaur, Communications Manager Jyotswaroop Kaur, Education Director Navdeep Singh, Policy Director Joyce Johnson, Office Manager

Johnnie Giles, Comcast Jim Dublin Sarab Neelam Savneet Singh

Board of Directors Manjit Singh, Chairman & Co-Founder Indira K. Ahluwalia Jasbir K. Bawa Kavneet Singh Navjeet Singh Parminder Singh

Civil Rights Advisory Board Bhupinder K. Malik Jaideep Singh Nick S. Kahlon Nitasha K. Sawhney Raj S. Badhesha Ritu K. Cooper

Regional Directors Bhupinder K. Malik, California Jaswant Singh Chani, Massachusetts Bobby Singh, Texas Navtej Singh Khalsa, Florida Sathanuman Singh Khalsa, Oregon SHARING OUR STORY OF ACHIEVEMENT

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Media Listing MY SEXY SIKH AMERICAN VALENTINE

AFTER OAK CREEK TEMPLE SHOOTING, SIKHS STAND UP TO BIAS

THE INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL FEDERATION IS FORCING SIKHS TO TAKE THEIR TURBANS OFF

LEADERS IN WASHINGTON, SIKH COMMUNITY GATHER FOR FIRST LANGAR

SIKH PSA ANSWERS THIS RIDICULOUS QUESTION IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY

SIKH AMERICANS ARE LEADING A HISTORIC FIGHT AGAINST “ANTI-TURBAN BIAS”

A VIGIL FOR HEROES OF FREEDOM SUMMER ’64

THE NFL AND ITS LACK OF SPORTSMANSHIP

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Selected Media Appearances 18 Million Rising The Aerogram Al Jazeera The American Bazaar EWTN (TV) Faith Street Fast Company’s Co Create KCET Omni News PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly Roll Call RT America (TV) San Jose Mercury News SikhNET Talking Points Memo Thom Hartmann Radio

Resources Voter Registration Materials (English & Punjabi) Who are Sikh Americans Guide On Common Ground Law Enforcement Training Materials (Certification Program) Sikh American Information Cards

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NATIONAL OFFICE: 1012 14th Street NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20005 PHONE: 202.393.2700 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA OFFICE: 634 Spring Street, Suite 802, Los Angeles, CA 90014 PHONE: 213.985.1116 www.saldef.org | @saldef


SALDEF Annual Report 2014