Mission & Vision


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.

Since its founding in 1996, SALDEF:

  • Was the only Sikh American organization to meet with the Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks
  • Developed a first of its kind youth leadership initiative, SikhLEAD, that offers two programs for Sikh American youth
  • Defeated a law to remove the Arizona Memorial to Balbir Singh Sodhi and sell it for scrap metal
  • Helped Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) become the first major police department in the country to allow Sikh Americans serve as regular officers with their articles of faith intact
  • Published Turban Myths with Stanford University, the first ever study documenting the public perception of the Sikh American community
  • Conducted media trainings with Sikh Americans from major markets
  • Curated and developed the first-ever Sikh American public service announcement which aired in 39 states on the Comcast networks

SALDEF maintains a full-time staff with offices in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, CA. In addition to our Board of Directors, SALDEF works with accomplished media experts who play a vital role in our work as well as a coalition of non-profit advocacy organizations. Its efforts are also supplemented by a national network of regional volunteer organizers who have gone through SALDEF training programs.