Know Your Rights Forum in Chapin, South Carolina

February 5th, 2018

N A T U R E (2)

On Sunday, February 4th, 2018, SALDEF organized a Know Your Rights Forum in Chapin, SC at Sikh Religious Society of South Carolina.The event was attended by about 150 members of the Sangat. The speakers at the event included Mr. Dan Koon from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, Mr. Brian Jones from the FBI, Ms. Patricia Fuller from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Mr. Dean Cousins from the TSA.

The Gurdwara is located on the outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina and was founded by Ajit Singh Randhawa, the father of UN Ambassador Haley. Mr. Randhawa and the Sangat were grateful for the outreach done by SALDEF to communities with smaller Sikh American populations, and SALDEF’s initiative to help Sikhs across the nation better understand their rights.

Mr. Dan Koon from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission talked about how the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission was created by the General Assembly in 1972 to encourage fair treatment, eliminate and prevent unlawful discrimination, and foster mutual understanding and respect among all people in this state. Based on the tenets of Title VII of the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disability Act, the South Carolina General Assembly declared that the practice of discrimination within the state because of a person’s race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability to be unlawful, and in conflict with the ideals of the State of South Carolina and the nation.

Mr. Brian Jones from the FBI spoke about the recent uptick in hate-crimes, what constitutes a hate-crime, and how to report it. Following the event, young Sikhs in the Sangat who were interested in joining the FBI talked to Mr. Jones about the recruitment and application process.

Ms. Patricia Fuller from the EEOC covered the role of the EEOC, its mandate to administer and enforce civil rights laws against workplace discrimination and how it can help Sikhs in the workplace. She went on to talk about how the EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual’s race, children, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, gender identity, genetic information, and retaliation for reporting, participating in, and/or opposing a discriminatory practice.

Mr. Dean Cousins from the Columbia International Airport’s TSA shared with the Sangat the best practices when flying. Mr. Cousins gave an overview of how TSA is training their agents about respectful protocols to engage with Sikh travelers and reviewing policies throughout the organization.

SALDEF would like to thank Mr. Amarjit Singh the Secretary of the Guru Ghar, and Mr. Ajit Singh Randhawa for their generous hospitality, and the Sangat of South Carolina for partnering with us to host a successful event

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SALDEF is committed to empowering the Sikh American community nationwide about their rights and how to exercise them without fear or hesitation.

If you feel your local Sangat could benefit from a Know Your Rights forum, please complete this form or contact know-your-rights@saldef.org.

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