Sumeet Kaur Bal
Interim Executive Director/Communications Director
Currently serving as SALDEF’s interim Executive Director— where she began her career as the org’s first full-time employee covering media and policy—Sumeet Kaur Bal represents the interests of the Sikh American community and is an ardent civil rights activist for all Americans. Managing the full time operations of the D.C. based office, Bal maintains the strategic vision of SALDEF while also supporting a Government and Policy Fellow and a Communications Fellow.
In addition, as a career journalist, Bal is also SALDEF’s Communications Director, where she oversees the organization’s comms strategy and is responsible for press releases, op-eds, media trainings, and social media. After more than 10 years experience working for Entertainment Weekly, Parenting Magazine, and MTV, Bal used her professional background to train Sikh Americans on how to share their stories with media during the Rose Parade, and continues her work with Sikh professionals and SikhLEADers. Mentored by top editors from Time, Inc. and the New York Times, and producers from the Today Show, ABC and CBS News, Bal has covered hard news, culture and fashion for print and broadcast media.
Prior to her career in media, Bal was a paralegal at the Center for Individual Rights and a recruiter/paralegal at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart in New York City.
Bal served on the board of the Interfaith Alliance and SALDEF’s Media Advisory Board, and is an active advocate of diversity in the New York City and San Francisco independent schools.
She graduated with an M.S. in Broadcasting from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and a B.A. in Religion/Political Science from Duke University.
Jyotswaroop Kaur joined SALDEF’s Southern California office with 10 years of experience in youth education programs, teaching, economic and social justice work. In her role at the helm of the Education Initiative, Kaur is responsible for the strategic growth and development of the organization’s two SikhLEAD programs: The Internship Program and the Leadership Development Program. While she spends the majority of her time running the Southern California Bureau, Kaur has brokered relationships with organizations, government bureaus, and offices on Capitol Hill securing coveted internships for the prestigious Internship Program. Kaur not only hand picks each candidate, but also grooms them with resume and interview coaching prior to their arrival in D.C. Just as she winds down her D.C. partnerships, Kaur begins creating the strategic plan and class for the Leadership Development Program where she carefully culls pioneers and changemakers from our nation’s top industries—entrepreneurs, lawyers, journalists, and community organizers— to speak with her incoming LDP class. Kaur also oversees much of the community relations work including the Law Enforcement Partnership Program.
She serves on the Board of Directors of SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy) — a community based organization in South Los Angeles.
Kaur graduated with her M.A. in Public Administration, Non-Profit Management and Policy degree from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and received her B.A. in English with a minor in Conflict Resolution from the University of California at Irvine.
Harmann P. Singh
Government Relations and Policy Fellow
A recent graduate of Columbia University, with a joint degree in economics and mathematics, Harmann P. Singh is the Government Relations and Policy Fellow at the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund(SALDEF) and a Truman-Albright Fellow.
Before joining SALDEF, Singh served as a Fellow at Hillary for America and as an intern at The White House. Singh is also published on youth empowerment, edited a book on human rights violations in India, and addresses forums—including the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions—on issues of gender equality, minority rights, and human rights violations. While at Columbia Singh founded Project Identity, was the 2015 Truman Scholar for New York State, sat on the executive boards of Columbia Sewa and Columbia Orchestra, and was an Interfaith Fellow with the Chaplain’s Office.
In his spare time, Singh is a classical percussionist, who has performed at Lincoln Center and as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic.
Singh, who will begin Harvard Law School in the fall, hopes to leverage his education to empower underprivileged and marginalized communities through law and policy.
Harnek Singh Neelam
Communications and Production Fellow
Filmmaker and documentary producer, Harnek Singh Neelam brings new creative energy to the SALDEF media team. Singh launched his career in 2010 when his documentary on Sikh Americans won national awards and was screened in major media markets such as New York and LA. This documentary inspired him to co-found his production company, Kitchen Productions, focused on producing shorts and documentaries highlighting diversity in America.
Singh assisted Congressman John Conyers Jr.’s media and marketing team in publicizing bills and initiatives, as a Summer intern. He also produced weekly videos to civically engage and appeal to younger constituents of the Congressional leader.
Singh is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a dual degree in Screen Arts & Cultures and Biomolecular Science.